Most people would be thrilled to discuss their weight loss. Some might even brag a little bit.
Spurs forward DeJuan Blair
, however, has no desire to discuss the pounds he might have shed this summer, putting the sum at “a little bit” and leaving it at that, perfectly content to let the results speak for themselves.
At the risk of overreacting to one preseason game against an over-matched European opponent, Blair appeared to look lighter and more active in Saturday’s victory over Motepaschi Siena. More noticeable than the production — 10 points, five rebounds, three steals — was the effort that produced it.
Blair, who was listed at 270 pounds last season, said he can notice a different in his quickness now that he’s in what he calls the best shape of his life.
“I’m a lot more bouncy,”
he said. “My knees feel great. I just have to maintain it.”
Blair, now in his fourth season, is also trying to work on his mental game by slowing down and making better decisions without sacrificing his new-and-apparently-improved quickness.
“You know, try not to rush a lot of shots and just try to be smarter,” he said. “Slow my game down but still have that aggressiveness. That’s what I’m trying to get through my head, to be more patient and think a lot better.”
Whether that translates to the regular season, and especially the postseason, remains to be seen. Blair said during the summer he expected to be traded after his starting role was revoked yet again in the playoffs. He was tight-lipped upon his return, answering questions about his future with a series of terse “nos” last week at media day.
But so far, attitude hasn’t been an issue.
“DeJuan’s had an excellent camp,” coach Gregg Popovich
said. “He’s been active at both ends of the floor. He’s trying to make better decisions and do what’s best for the group.
“His energy, his defense, his rebounding, those sorts of things, he’s really concentrated on; running the floor and working on being a more disciplined player. We’ve been real happy with what he’s done so far.” NOTES
* Backup point guard Patty Mills
(sprained ankle) will miss the next two preseason games.
* Hard to believe that the Spurs’ snark quotient could take much of a hit as long as Popovich is still around, but the front office is missing Danny Ferry
, now Atlanta’s general manager, in more ways than one.
“He was a master at the jibe,” Popovich said. “He was very good, but what was great is that he could also take it, and that made it OK.”
* Popovich said efforts to improve San Antonio’s flagging defense are on track. (The Spurs’ defensive efficiency has declined steadily since leading the league in 2005-06.)
“We’ve spent a gret deal of time trying to be more demanding defensively and trying to get a better understanding of what we need to do to tune in, defense-wise, and I think it’s gone well,” he said.
* The Spurs announced a slew of promotions and additions on Tuesday: Sean Marks
is director of basketball operations and Toros general manager; Brian Pauga
is now the director of scouting; and Gabe Farkas
will assume the role of director of basketball analytics. Matt Meiners
has been hired as the manager of statistical development; Brandon James
joins the Spurs as the manager of basketball administration; and Trajan Langdon
joins the team as a pro scout. Spurs Nation