I haven't covered the two players on the site recently, but former Pitt stars DeJuan Blair and Sam Young are contributing in the NBA Playoffs for their respective teams. Both are also hoping to reach the NBA Finals as Blair's San Antonio Spurs and Young's Indiana Pacers have reached the Conference Finals.
I'll be briefly covering Blair today and Young tomorrow.
Dejuan Blair's case has again remained an odd one. After seeing about 14 minutes per game in the regular season, the Spurs utilized him quite a bit in the opening series against the Los Angeles Lakers. Blair played only 12 total minutes in the first two games, but saw more action in the second two of the San Antonio sweep. In those two contests, he played 33 minutes. Even better was that he produced, scoring 13 points in each game on 12-15 shooting and adding six rebounds per game. Generally, that would result in more time, but for the Spurs, not so much.
One thing that has to be noted is that Blair got more minutes in those two games because the Spurs won each easily and that they were without Tiago Splitter in Game 4. San Antonio won Game 3 by 31 points and Game 4 by 21. Coach George Popovich was giving his starters as much rest as possible, so that makes sense. But what's hard to understand is that even when Blair gets in and plays well as he did those two games, that he still can't even get off the bench in some games.
In the six-game series with Golden State, Blair played in only three of the six games and receive a total of only nine total minutes. He played scored six points and grabbed two rebounds in only five minutes of action in the opener of the current series against Memphis, but then didn't play in Game 2.
This has happened each of the past two seasons with Blair, so it's not all that surprising. But given the coaches' use of him, the odds of the Spurs getting him back seem low since he's an unrestricted free agent. In fact, all of the chatter has been that Blair has little to no interest in returning, anyway.