SB Nation's Syracuse site, Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician, had what I thought was a pretty good idea in identifying the school's top NBA players of all time.
Pitt's NBA lineage isn't quite as large as that of many programs, but the Panthers did/do have about 20 players that logged game time in the league. Last year during the offeason, Aron ranked the careers of Pitt players in the Jamie Dixon era. I thought it would be fun to do the same for the guys that reached the NBA.
Over the next five days, I'll reveal two guys on the list each day. My criteria for this is pretty simple - I'm factoring in only what they did in the pros as well as any other NBA contributions I can dig up. Any Pitt stuff is irrelevant here. Things I'll be looking at include stats, championships, awards, etc.
Finally, I'll also give the standard disclaimer for these sorts of things that this is all opinion stuff. There's no way to create a list that will be universally accepted by everyone, but that's part of the fun. I'd love to hear your thoughts on what I got right/wrong.
No. 4 - DeJuan Blair
Blair's career, it seems, has sort of come to an abrupt halt. But the former Pitt star certainly had his time in the spotlight of the NBA. Drafted in the second round by the San Antonio Spurs in 2009, so far Blair has put together an NBA career spanning seven seasons.
Blair was an almost instant hit in San Antonio mostly coming off the bench. As a rookie, he played in all 82 regular season games with the Spurs and made the NBA's All-Rookie Second Team after 7.8 points and 6.4 rebounds while making 23 stars. Over the next two seasons, he became mostly a full-time starter, making 127 starts out of his 145 games played. His future looked very bright with the team but his playing time and starts shrunk by the following season.
Blair signed with the Dallas Mavericks for the next season but never recaptured the magic he had earlier in his Spurs career. After serving as mostly a backup there for a year, he was traded to the Washington Wizards, who used him sparingly in the next two seasons with a crowded frontcourt. Last year, Blair was traded before the NBA trade deadline to the Phoenix Suns and they immediately waived him leaving his NBA future in doubt.
So far, Blair has played in 424 NBA games (starting 179), averaging 6.8 points and 5.1 rebounds.
No. 3 - Mark Blount
When Blount left Pitt after his sophomore season, it looked like a questionable decision. But by the time his NBA career was finished, he made it clear that he could hang in the league.
Blount developed into a usable NBA center and played nine seasons in the league, starting in about 2/3 of his games. He was taken near the end of the 1997 NBA Draft by the Seattle Supersonics. But Blount never made it there and didn't resurface in the league until a few years later. When he did, he proved he belonged.
As a rookie in 2000, his 76 blocks were the most by a Celtics rookie in 20 years and he started in 50 of the team's 62 games. After a brief stop in Denver, he ended up back with the Celtics for a few more seasons before spending time with the Minnesota Timberwolves and Miami Heat. He had arguably the best season of his career with the Timberwolves in 2006-07 averaging 12.3 points and 6.2 rebounds per game while starting in 81 of 82 contests.
Over nine seasons in the NBA, Blount appeared in 605 games, starting 393 of them and averaging 8.2 points and 4.6 rebounds per game.