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Monday, October 14, 2013
Meet the Mavs: DeJuan Blair

By Tim MacMahon

With nine new players on the Dallas Mavericks' roster, introductions are necessary. Over a 15-day span, ESPNDallas.com will take a look at each of the team's players with guaranteed deals.

Kevin Garnett
The Mavs hope DeJuan Blair can provide some muscle and a mean streak in the big-man rotation.

DeJuan Blair

Age: 24 | Pos.: C/PF | Salary: $947,907

Role for Mavs in 2013-14: The hope is that the 6-foot-7, 265-pound Blair can provide some muscle and a mean streak in the big-man rotation. Samuel Dalembert will start and Brandan Wright will get significant minutes, but Blair has a legitimate chance to contribute, especially against teams with physical frontcourts. The Mavs will rely on Blair more than anticipated while Wright recovers from a shoulder injury.

The Mavs believe Blair, who has career per-36 minute averages of 14.1 points and 11.1 rebounds, can be a better offensive fit than Elton Brand, a similarly shaped player who averaged 7.2 points and 6.0 rebounds in 21.2 minutes per game for Dallas last season. That’s because Blair rolls hard to the basket on pick-and-rolls, while Brand preferred to pop for midrange jumpers. It’s a critical difference for the spacing in coach Rick Carlisle’s system.

What happened this summer?: After falling out of the San Antonio Spurs’ rotation last season, Blair slipped through the cracks in free agency. He settled for a one-year, veteran-minimum deal with Dallas in early August.

What does the future hold?: Blair will test the market again next summer, surely hoping to land a multi-year contract. Maybe he’ll become another successful Mavs reclamation project who cashes in with a relatively rich contract, a list that includes Brandon Bass, Ian Mahinmi and Brandan Wright.

Bottom line: Blair was brought here to be a bargain-bin banger.