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News » Knee-jerk reaction started here

Knee-jerk reaction started here

Knee-jerk reaction started here CHICAGO - This is the scene of what someday may be regarded as a Basketball scouting crime.

It was here, at the NBA's predraft camp, that a physical examination of potential draftees revealed the absence of anterior cruciate ligaments in both of DeJuan Blair's knees.

The resulting medical panic by nearly every team took Blair out of the first round, its guaranteed two-year contracts considered too great a risk.

Blair, snatched in the second round by the Spurs , had visited the Bulls twice in the weeks leading up to the draft. He believed he would not fall past their 16th pick in the first round; certainly not past their second pick of the first round, the 26th.

Sitting at his locker stall in United Center before Thursday's second game of the Spurs season, Blair tried his best to be diplomatic about a Windy City perception that he took their snub personally.

"Take it like you want to," he said. "If that's how people think, OK. But Coach Pop (Gregg Popovich) told me not to worry about it."

In Thursday's game, Blair was matched up in the first half against the player the Bulls selected with the 26th pick. Southern Cal's Taj Gibson made the Bulls' player personnel department look smart, with an early advantage in scoring and rebounds. Gibson finished with a slight edge; they each had six points, but Gibson outrebounded Blair, 6-4.

Their summer vacations: Popovich talked before the game about a summer adventure in the Amazon jungle, a trip he called enjoyable and educational, but not one he wants to repeat.

Former Spur Vinny Del Negro, now coaching the Bulls, took no vacation at all, focusing instead on becoming a better coach.

"He goes to the Amazon and does his trips, but he's earned it and deserves that time off," Del Negro said. "I'm not ready for the Amazon yet."

Popovich said he admired Del Negro's dedication.

"In the summertime he doesn't even go on vacation," Popovich said. "He talked to a lot of us and discussed Basketball, wanted to know how we do things here and there; why we do this and that.

"All of us do that during the summer, but Vinny has no problem with learning, no matter who the info comes from, and that's a hell of a good thing."

Worth noting: The Spurs' victory over the Hornets in the season opener gave Popovich a record of 12-1 in openers. That is the best winning percentage in openers in NBA history for coaches with 10 or more seasons.

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Author: Fox Sports
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Added: October 31, 2009


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