If you read my recap of last night’s Wizards game, you may recall that I gave Blatche a little grief for his shot selection. I mentioned that he forced shots off the dribble, went 2 for 10 from the floor, and scored just six points. The guy simply did not play well. After the game, Flip Saunders proceeded to state the obvious, calling Blatche’s performace “terrible”. Andray didn’t like that too much, and apparently he’s so tired of being criticized that he took the time to call Washington’s 106.7 The Fan to give everyone his two cents. From Bulletsforever.com…
No hot links today. Instead, I’ll just give this one: Andray Blatche calling into 106.7 The Fan again to defend himself for his poor play against the Knicks. Flip Saunders called his performance “terrible,” which of course begs the question of why he was in for so long. But that’s neither here nor there.
A more complete transcript is here, but here’s a quick summary:
- Blatche said he’s giving maximum effort, and is actually playing through a good deal of pain.
- That pain? A shoulder injury suffered a week and a half ago that’s bad enough to cause a lot of pain after 30 minutes of working out, according to Blatche. He also still has knee stiffness that flares up from time to time.
- He’s upset that so many Wizards fans have turned on him. ”If you’re a Wizards fan, that means you cheer for everybody. That doesn’t mean you’ll come to a game and you shout ‘Trade him!’ If you’re part of a Wizards organization fan group, that means you cheer for the team.”
- He actually talked to Gilbert Arenas before the big trade, during which Arenas said that he should be prepared for this. ”We had a discussion, and this is what he said to me. ‘Just as fast as they turned on me, it’s going to happen to you.’” To be fair, Mike Wise prompted this one by mentioning Arenas’ name first.
- The part that made me laugh the most was when Blatche explained what’s wrong with the team. He said too many players try to do it themselves rather than trusting anyone, but nobody seems to say anything when that happens because they’re too friendly with each other and worried about “hurting feelings.” He said that’s the big problem with the team now, but when asked whether he feels it’s on him to be more vocal, he said that, in the heat of the moment, he “lets it go” so they can all move on to the next play and not dwell on failure. Okay, fine, I suppose that’s reasonable.
- So does that mean those issues get addressed by players after the game? Blatche: “Then, next practice, we may joke about it so they can try to get a hint about it.” Leadership!
I know this is supposed to be about Andray Blatche, but I’ve got to talk about Gilbert Arenas for a second. This idiot is yapping about Washington fans “turning on him”? Seriously? Dude, you got yourself suspended for a year by acting like a dumbass… of course the fans are going to be pissed! You were supposed to be the franchise player and the leader, but you went and brought a gun into the lockerroom because you had to show Javaris Crittenton just how REAL you are. Cut the sh!t, Gilbert, you’re a moron.
As for Blatche… well, I don’t think calling radio stations is going to help his cause. Coming out in the following game and dropping 25 points on 8 of 14 will, though. That’s what he did tonight in Washington’s 120-109 loss to Denver. ‘Dray probably should’ve just let his game do the talking, but clearly he’s still got some maturity issues to work out. Unfortunately, at 24 years old and playing in his sixth NBA season, it’s looking less and less likely that he’ll ever “get it”.
I thought this might be the season where Blatche would make a long stride in the right direction. Antawn Jamison is out of the picture, and he would be relied upon to produce every single night. His numbers are alright–16 points and eight boards are both career bests–but he’s shooting a career-low (excluding his rookie season) 41 percent from the floor. I was thinking he could put up something closer to the 20/10 range on a shooting percentage in the high 40s, and I still believe he has the talent to do so, but basketball isn’t all about talent. You’ve got to have what it takes upstairs, and Blatche clearly does not at this point. I think the best thing that could happen to the guy would be a trade to a team with some solid veteran leadership. Young Andray has spent much of his career under the influence of goofballs like Gilbert Arenas and DeShawn Stevenson. He needs to play with a Kevin Garnett type… someone who will instantly have his respect and use it to knock some sense into his dome. Unfortunately, with every stunt like this, he makes himself less and less appealing to teams which could provide him with a better situation.
To sum that all up: If Blatche fails to get his act together over the next few seasons I could see him out of the league at a fairly young age. The guy has NBA All-Star talent, there’s no question about it… but at this point he hasn’t shown anything to indicate that he can be a key member of a winning basketball team. He’s been skating on his youth, talent, and potential thus far, but as he creeps closer and closer to the second half of his 20s, the youth and potential begin to disappear… The talent will still be there, but no one’s going to be interested anymore if he hasn’t figured out how to use it to help a team win some games.
Readers, don’t take this post the wrong way. I’m rooting for Andray. I’ve always liked the young man’s game, and I sincerely hope he goes through an attitude adjustment. Like I said, he’s got plenty of talent, and it would be a shame to see it wasted.