Basketball: Blair, Young fall to second round of NBA Draft

By Adam Littman

It took a little longer than anyone expected, but both Sam Young and DeJuan Blair were selected… It took a little longer than anyone expected, but both Sam Young and DeJuan Blair were selected in tonight’s NBA Draft early in the second round .

Young, who some expected to go in the low 20’s, was picked by the Memphis Grizzlies with the 36 pick. Blair, who most expected to go anywhere from 10-21, was the very next pick, going to the San Antonio Spurs.

Blair watched the draft with family at the Omni William Penn Hotel in Downtown. He did not speak to the media tonight, although a spokesperson for the All-American did say Blair was “thrilled” to join the Spurs.

Possible reasons for Blair falling into the second round are his health and his size. In high school, Blair had two knee surgeries, and while he didn’t miss any time in his two years at Pitt because of them, NBA teams might have been wary of taking him due to his past. He is also only listed at 6-foot-5, which is at least a few inches shorter than a majority of players he’d face at power forward in the NBA.

Even though he fell to the second round, the situation could benefit Blair. The Spurs have made the playoffs each of the last 12 seasons, winning the NBA title four times in that span. Blair also gets to play behind Tim Duncan, one better power forwards in league history.

Young finds himself in a different situation. Memphis is a young team that is constantly rebuilding. At 24, Young is already older than four members of the Grizzlies. Memphis also has not made the playoffs since 2005-2006 season. The Grizzlies have lost all 12 playoffs games they’ve played in in team history.

With Memphis not expected to compete for the playoff spot, Young could see a lot of playing time. Rudy Gay is the starting small forward in Memphis and Darrell Arthur starts at power forward, but Young could come off the bench next year and see a decent amount of playing time.

One reason for Young dropped to the second round is his age. Teams tend to draft based on potential, and at 24 most teams think Young is as good as he’s going to get.

Young also couldn’t be reached to comment last night.

Check next week for more reaction to the Draft.