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Pistons were OK with DeJuan Blair, picked DaJuan Summers anyway

Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press:

The Pistons were OK with Blair, but still picked DaJuan Summers in the second round.

There are two ways to interpret that.

1. The Pistons were only OK with Blair’s medical report. They weren’t thrilled about his knees, but they didn’t love the situation, either.

2. The Pistons were OK with Blair in a binary, OK/not OK sense.

No. 1 must be the correct interpretation, because if I accept No. 2, my head might explode, and I don’t want my head to explode.

18 Comments

  • Jun 22, 201211:28 am
    by Sal

    Reply

    Awful reporting. You cannot possibly know in what context any of that was taken, and obviously you do not take a kid with no knees over a guy who had tremendous upside coming out of college.. A second round pick should be used on somebody you know can play, fill a need or provide some energy.

    • Jun 22, 201212:06 pm
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      I LOLed at this — “A second round pick should be used on somebody you know can play, fill a need or provide energy” — as a defense for drafting DaJuan freaking Summers.

      Sorry, but Blair was a lottery pick if not for his injury concerns. Summers had some minimal upside, but underachieved in college and was a reach where the Pistons took him. Just an awful pick. Also, if you’ll notice, Blair has been pretty good as someone who “can play,” “fills a need” and “provides some energy.”

      Awful commenting.

  • Jun 22, 20121:16 pm
    by Alan

    Reply

    Blair has been an okay pro, better than Summers, but let’s get real.
    1.) He plays next to Duncan…who wouldn’t look good next to Timmy?
    2.) He never starts in the playoffs.  He’s always been behind McDyess and now Boris Diaw.  I’m not sure he’s even ahead of Splitter off the bench.
    Conclusion: Too many people get bent out of shape about Detroit passing on Blair.  I am not convinced he’d ever have had a significant impact in Detroit.

    • Jun 22, 20121:22 pm
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      I’m not bent out of shape. As a second round pick, he was obvious an obvious pick if you didn’t have concerns about his knees, though, and it appears the Pistons weren’t that concerned. Like I said above, minus the serious injury history, dude was a lottery pick production-wise in college.

      Even if his knees didn’t hold up, there was still a very good shot that whoever took him would be getting a very solid rotation player/rebounder/garbage man around the basket.

      • Jun 23, 201212:40 am
        by Alan

        Reply

        I didn’t mean to imply that you are bent out of shape about Blair. Rather, I have a few buddies who constantly bring up Detroit passing on Blair as if Blair alone could’ve prevented our slide. It gets me because, when in shape, I think Maxiel is a more effective pro. So, I just don’t see the point in bringing up Blair – you or my buddies – except to point out that he’d be better than Summers. And I concede this.

        • Jun 23, 201212:50 am
          by Patrick Hayes

          Reply

          As I said in a couple other comments here, it’s not really about Blair the player. He’s clearly got his flaws. He’s a competent role player, decent rebounder and I agree with you, he’d be about the equivalent of an in-shape Maxiell production-wise, with one small difference: Blair costs about 20 percent as much. So the fact that he’s both cheap and would be serviceable is a missed opportunity, but it’s far from the end of the world. Blair’s certainly not a major difference maker or anything.

          But the reason he was brought up in this post was not to say that the Pistons necessarily made a huge mistake passing on him. The reason they passed (at least according to what Ellis said), though, is the mistake. If they passed for medical reasons, I’d be OK with that. Clearly, Blair has been a decent reserve, but if the Pistons said, “hey, our training staff just didn’t think they could keep him healthy, so we didn’t take him,” that’s certainly valid. But to say that they were possibly OK with his knees and still pass for Summers? That’s what is crazy to me, simply because Blair both filled a need and was considered a much, much better prospect than Summers.

    • Jun 22, 20123:10 pm
      by Max

      Reply

      I’m with you.  You’d think Blair was an all star or something, given how people act on these boards, when he is a player who doesn’t put up particularly impressive stats and doesn’t play consistent minutes for SA no matter who is on the roster or who is hurt.     Almost every team in the league passed on him too and his knees may yet fail him and it may be right after he signs a long term deal–even though I don’t see him getting any more than a modest deal at that,   He’s nowhere near being a Brandon Roy but he may yet suffer a similar fate.

      • Jun 22, 20123:23 pm
        by Patrick Hayes

        Reply

        AHHHH. Just shutup man. Shut up shut up shut up shut up.

        Point me to one comment here where anyone said that Blair has been anything more than a competent role player?

        Your insistence on taking everything out of context and having debates with yourself where you invent fake stances that other people have taken and then argue argue against those stances is beyond obnoxious.

        Blair was an obvious pick in the second round if you weren’t particularly concerned that his knees would give out. Talent-wise in college, he was a first round pick. If he’s there in the second round and you don’t have concerns about his knees, you take him. Obvious, obvious, obvious pick.

        If you do have concerns about his knees, fine, don’t take him. But the point of this post, which I’m sure you either didn’t read or didn’t bother to read and think about before forming your stupid ass argument against points that no one made, is that the Pistons, according to Ellis, both thought Blair’s knees were fine AND didn’t take him. That’s stupid. If the Pistons said, “We passed because were concerned about his knees,” that’s fine. If they’re reasoning was, “We were fine with his knees, we just thought Summers was better,” then that’s really, really stupid. No one thought Summers was better than Blair heading into that draft. The only reason you’d possibly put him ahead of Blair is the injury thing, which apparently the Pistons didn’t think was a big issue. They just thought Summers was better, and that’s insane.

        • Jun 22, 201210:23 pm
          by Max

          Reply

          Listen to you.  You are acting like a ranting fool and taking my comments out of context when you accuse me of being out of context.  I agreed with Alan’s position and expanded on my own.  You are acting defensive about nothing and were not even being addressed other than, possibly, in the sense of being included amongst the group of people who get bent out of shape regarding Blair.  How am I possibly out of context when I am simply agreeing with the post I replied to about the Blair issue in general and not the particulars of whatever article you or Dan have most recently essayed?
          I don’t think it’s a big deal at all and I find the continued debating of it irritating and that’s all from my end.   No need to rant against a bunch of stuff I never said or was addressing.  Your absolute intolerance of views that don’t match your own is the hole in your argument when you claim any objectivity.

          • Jun 23, 201212:08 am
            by Patrick Hayes

            I have one overarching issue with your comments, and it has nothing to do with whether you agree with my view or not. My problem is that routinely, you speak in generalities as if they are facts.

            Not to belabor this, but read through that comment you posted.

            “You’d think Blair was an all star or something, given how people act on these boards”

            This isn’t a rational conclusion to draw from the post or any of the comments on it. Blair represented great value for an early second round pick. That isn’t hindsight either, most draft evaluators and scouts had him as a top 15 talent that year. His knee problems certainly scared teams off in the first round, but I didn’t see a single mock or prospect ranking that year that had Summers rated as a better prospect. So, the argument that was made, is if the Pistons had no concerns about his knees as Ellis might be suggesting, then they made a really bad decision with the Summers pick, taking a clearly inferior player. Saying that doesn’t suggest anyone thinks Blair is an All-Star. It simply suggests that he represented really good value, their medical staff was cool with him and, for whatever reason, they took an inferior player with him on the board.

            “when he is a player who doesn’t put up particularly impressive stats and doesn’t play consistent minutes for SA no matter who is on the roster or who is hurt.”

            His situation in San Antonio is irrelevant. His role is smaller on San Antonio because the Spurs are really good and really deep. That doesn’t mean Blair isn’t productive in certain areas, particularly rebounding, in the minutes he does play. He’d be an upgrade over any Piston big except Monroe and maybe Maxiell last year. Those two would actually be pretty even, and given Blair’s much cheaper contract, I’d say he’s a better value than Maxiell.

            “Almost every team in the league passed on him too”

            Irrelevant to the actual topic. The Pistons possibly thought his knees would hold up, according to Ellis, and still passed on him in the second round. It’s fair to call that a mistake.

            “and his knees may yet fail him and it may be right after he signs a long term deal”

            Irrelevant to the post. No one said the Pistons had to sign him long-term. In fact, I’d be leery of signing him long-term (and the Spurs are too, incidentally). But to have him around for a couple of years on a second round pick contract? That would absolutely be great value.

            “He’s nowhere near being a Brandon Roy but he may yet suffer a similar fate.”

            Again, irrelevant to the post. Maybe his knees will go at any time and his career will end, who knows. The point of the post, again, was that the Pistons were possibly fine with his knee issues according to Ellis. My issue with your comments on this is your essentially dissenting with a different argument, one that no one is making.

            Dan didn’t say anywhere in the post that the Pistons definitely should’ve taken Blair. I don’t think anyone would fault the Pistons or any team for being leery of his medical situation. That’s a legit reason to pass on him, and if it’s why the Pistons passed on him, I’m fine with that even if he turned out to be a decent reserve. But that’s not the reason they passed on him, apparently. They passed because they thought Dajuan Summers, who no one thought was better at the time, was better. That’s not a legit reason to pass on him.

            So again, you missed the entire context of this argument and your comments frame it as if someone was on here arguing that Blair was some can’t miss stud who the Pistons will forever rue missing on. That’s not the criticism. The criticism is simply that they knowingly took a less promising player even though they seemed fine with Blair’s medical.

  • Jun 22, 20122:50 pm
    by Alejandro

    Reply

    Sure Blair isn’t a stud but he’s still in the league and Summers isn’t. Clearly who would have been the better pick?

    • Jun 22, 20123:17 pm
      by Max

      Reply

      Whatever dude.  If you want to nitpick every second round pick that doesn’t work out, you’ll have an easy time of it, but I don’t even think anyone can argue that Dumars does a better job of making second round picks than most GMs.    Remember, the overwhelming majority of second round picks have no impact on the NBA and many never play a single minute in the league.  The second round if a crap shoot and while people can say that Blair is the high upside player you draft in the 2nd round because he fell so far, that is just a particular kind of crap.
      Also, I don’t know that I’d rather have Blair than Jerebko and if they were traded for each other, I would consider it an even trade that would likely have to play out for years before a winner could be declared.

      • Jun 22, 20123:30 pm
        by Patrick Hayes

        Reply

        “If you want to nitpick every second round pick that doesn’t work out, you’ll have an easy time of it”

        He’s not nitpicking every second round pick. He’s nitpicking this one. Quit arguing against points that don’t exist.

        “Remember, the overwhelming majority of second round picks have no impact on the NBA and many never play a single minute in the league.”

        No one has said that they do. Again, quit arguing points that no one has made. It’s stupid. The Blair situation is just an interesting case b/c he’s a guy who as an obvious first round talent without the medical red flags. Those types of players are rare in the second round, that’s why it’s a relevant discussion and different than typical second round prospects.

        “I don’t know that I’d rather have Blair than Jerebko and if they were traded for each other”

        You know that Blair was drafted before Jerebko, right? So the actual discussion is Summers-Blair. Where has the discussion ever been Jerebko-Blair? Jerebko was a great pick, one that everyone agrees is a great pick whether you’re a Dumars apologist or hater.

        Also, quit arguing against points that no one has made.

        • Jun 22, 201210:35 pm
          by Max

          Reply

          Again, I was addressing Alejandro with my post, who was in turn addressing Alan and my argument was not out of context or arguing against points no one had made.   The entire premise of Alejandro’s comment was to undermine Alan’s post by cutting through everything to say, “obviously Blair is better than Summers because he is still in the league”.
          My post addresses his post by asking relevant questions about the relative ability of any GM or scout to forecast the futures of any second round pick and to defend Dumars in general, both in terms of his drafting from year to year in the second round and to offer Jerebko as a proof of his ability to spot talent there.   Never did I say anything about Jerebko being drafted instead of Blair and so, once again, it is you who are attributing arguments to me that I never made.

          • Jun 23, 201212:23 am
            by Patrick Hayes

            To refresh your memory, this is what you typed to Alejandro: “If you want to nitpick every second round pick that doesn’t work out, you’ll have an easy time of it, but I don’t even think anyone can argue that Dumars does a better job of making second round picks than most GMs.”

            Alejandro simply said, “Sure Blair isn’t a stud but he’s still in the league and Summers isn’t. Clearly who would have been the better pick?”

            That’s it. That’s all he said. Nowhere did he say that he was going to nitpick every second round pick. Nowhere did he say that Dumars never finds talent in the second round. Yet you argued his point as if he did.

            “My post addresses his post by asking relevant questions about the relative ability of any GM or scout to forecast the futures of any second round pick and to defend Dumars in general”

            But how is that relevant at all to this discussion? Who attacked Dumars’ ability to find talent in the second round? Yes, he’s one of the better GMs in the league at doing that. Perhaps you’ve read about that, because PistonPowered has certainly written about it a lot. Shit, I wrote about it two years ago at MLive. I honestly don’t get what your point is here. Because Dumars has done an above average job at finding talent in the second round, then it’s out of bounds to be critical of a clear mistake? Because Summers over Blair, if you’re OK with his medical data as the report indicates, is a clear mistake both from a talent and fit perspective, and that was abundantly clear even before the picks were made. Chad Ford had Blair going 16th overall in his final 2009 mock draft. And he actually thought he could go higher. Here’s what he wrote:

            “I think the Bulls will do backflips if Blair falls this far. They have the athleticism of Tyrus Thomas, the energy of Joakim Noah and the skills and size of Brad Miller on their front line. If they could add Blair’s toughness and offensive rebounding, the Bulls would have an answer to every front line in the league.”

            So again, I’m stressing this here because it feels like you truly don’t understand the point, the Blair/Summers pick is a unique one because Blair was clearly a top talent in the draft, he clearly filled a need (rebounding) for the Pistons, he stayed on the board into the second round, they weren’t apparently concerned about his knees and they still passed. That’s stupid. It would certainly be nitpicky to write a post saying that Dumars totally messed up in 2009 by not taking Danny Green instead of Summers, for example. No one expected Green to be that good, Summers was physically bigger and more athletic, etc. That would be cherry picking and unfair criticism. Blair, though, is a different argument since he was considered a top prospect in the draft and most everyone thought he’d be a solid player if his knees held up.

            Like I said above, my issue isn’t that you argue or have dissenting views. It is that you have dissenting views with no data whatsoever to back up what you’re saying and support your argument. You’re free to think and express whatever you want down here, but your argument on this post is not on topic, not supported by any info — an example of supporting data would be to say, “Well, this article from 2009 seems to suggest maybe the Pistons were more leery of Blair’s knees than Ellis is indicating” — and it’s obnoxious because you are just tossing out straw men all over the place trying to find something that sticks.

  • Jun 23, 20122:28 am
    by oats

    Reply

    As someone who is “bent out of shape” about the wrong DaJuan thing, I feel like I’m capable of commenting on this. I obviously can’t speak for everyone, but I’m in the group being complained about. I also feel like bent out of shape doesn’t do a good job describing me. Honestly, I’m not that upset about not having Blair, but I do bring him up because he relevant when talking about Dumars and his decision making on draft day. I bring him up because I think it was a fairly obvious mistake, and that is fair game.
     
    Blair is a good player, and he filled an obvious need for the Pistons. It was pretty evident to most people that Maxiell was not playing well, and even when he was playing well the team still had a glaring need for some extra rebounding. Blair was a chance to fix that hole, and maybe ignite a fire under Maxiell’s butt by providing him with some additional competition. He was an obvious pick in the second round. Admittedly he was passed on by a lot of people, but considering how few 2nd round prospects actually become rotation players in the league, passing on one who looked like a lock to be a rotation guy and also filled an area of need was a pretty terrible decision. That’s part of the problem. It might have been a 2nd round pick, but they were passing on 1st round talent in favor of 2nd round talent. As for Blair as a player, he is clearly fairly limited but I don’t think it’s a stretch to say he’s better than Maxiell or CV. That alone means he would have helped the team. He might not make the Pistons a playoff team these last few years, but he clearly helps them. Considering Summers predictably failed to help at all, it’s pretty clear this was the wrong call.
     
    I don’t mind that Dumars missed on a 2nd rounder, but the reason he messed up is fair to talk about. I’ve never complained about the likes of Cheikh Samb, Will Blalock, Terrico White, or Trent Plaisted. Instead I focus on Dumars passing on a guy with some obvious NBA skills in order to take a streaky jump shooter that didn’t like to play physical. See, that’s the real problem here, this pick seems to be indicative of what Dumars was doing wrong. It seemed like Dumars plan was to have one guy run isos, with a bunch of jump shooters hanging around for him to kick it out to if need be. That’s why we get Austin Daye and DaJuan Summers, that’s why we sign Gordon and CV, that’s why we hire Curry and Kuester, and that’s why we trade Billups and turn the team over to Rodney Stuckey. Actually, while Jerebko is panning out, Jerebko is part of that mentality too. JJ isn’t a great shooter for a SF, but he does shoot well for a PF. It seems pretty clear that the intent was for Summers/Daye/Jerebko and maybe even Prince to be used as interchangeable forwards like how Orlando used Lewis/Turkoglu. That seems to have been the plan despite not having a Dwight Howard type of player to anchor that lineup. It also ties into a desire to spread the court to clear out for Stuckey. The problem is, it seems like the plan forgets the need to get rebounds or play defense. The plan also kind of relies on Stuckey turning into Dwayne Wade, which seems like an obvious mistake to me. But that’s the real reason it is brought up so often, it’s an example of how Dumars was going away from the kind of guys that helped make the team successful. This new plan was an abandonment of Detroit basketball in favor of the boring style of basketball employed by the Cavs and the Heat (pre-Decision) while not realizing the team lacked the star power to pull that off. He’s almost a kind of shorthand for complaints about Dumars over the last few years, as any of his other mistakes are. It’s one of several bad moves made by Dumars that all relate to each other, and it’s totally fair to dump on it the way Pistons fans do.
     
    I for one think it’s fair to point out his past mistakes to see if Dumars is learning from them. Maybe Max is tired of it coming up, but it was only 3 years ago. It’s still relevant to any discussion of Dumars as a GM. Considering we are heading into the draft and Sullinger has some potential parallels to Blair, it is actually extremely relevant to what is going on. I guess I just don’t see why there are complaints about what seems like a fair point to make.

    • Jun 23, 20124:32 pm
      by Max

      Reply

      I didn’t complain about anything until Patrick ranted against me but was commenting on Alan’s post which I liked and agreed with.

      • Jun 24, 20126:53 am
        by oats

        Reply

        Right. My mistake. Alan said he was tired of it coming up. My apologies for attributing his statement to you. Still, the vast majority of the post is explaining why Blair is brought up, and it really isn’t supposed to be addressed to anyone specifically. The post is intended for anyone who wants to know why the Blair thing keeps popping up.

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