On a night that future pro basketball Hall of Famer Tim Duncan was told to rest his aging knees, rookie DeJuan Blair put up a Duncan-like performance.
Posting career highs for points and rebounds, Blair dominated at times in the Spurs’ 109-108 overtime win over the Thunder on Wednesday night at the Ford Center.
"I don’t even know if Duncan could have done this tonight,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks. "Obviously, Duncan is a great player, one of the best players (in the league). But without him, they stepped up.”
Blair had a double-double by halftime. When he fouled out with 3:07 left in overtime, a crowd of 17,886 roared, knowing Blair (28 points, 21 rebounds) was a handful all night.
"He’s a great player, a tremendous player,” said Thunder forward Jeff Green.
So how does a 6-foot-7, 270-pound beast fall all the way to the second round?
Following an All-American career at Pittsburgh, some mock drafts had Blair being selected in the middle of the first round, in the 15 to 25 range.
Oklahoma City had a shot at Blair but selected Byron Mullens, a 7-foot center who has more long-term upside but isn’t as NBA ready his rookie season.
The primary reason Blair’s stock fell was teams had concerns about his knees (no ACL in either knee). But that didn’t affect him at Pittsburgh.