Andray Blatche says he’s totally matured

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Andray Blatche has a world of talent. Long, with scoring versatility and an offensive viciousness, he’s not lacking for ability. But he’s never shown the mental component to cash in on the talent. Consider that as a stretch four in the first year after of his mega-extension, he shot 32% from the 16-23 range. He struggled with injuries last year, which would be a decent excuse, except that he shot 39 percent the year before. A 75-year-old Kevin Garnett shot 47 percent from that same spot last year. He shot 32 percent in ISO situations according to Synergy, 36 percent in the post, 46 percent on spot-up opportunities. His 16.9 PER is above-average,but nothing to get super-excited about. In short, Blatche has not exhibited a stellar savvy game or high level of efficiency offensively.

Stunningly, his defensive numbers from Synergy are pretty good. Allowed just 36 percent in the pick and roll as the big defender, 47 percent in the post, and 41 percent in ISO. His overall .86 points per possession is actually in the 65th percentile. So again, there’s some talent there.

But what has always been in question is whether or not he’s willing to work to mature into a complete player, and whether he’ll put away the things that keep him distracted off the court. The Washington Post has a feature with Blatche in which he proclaims a lot of things that you want to hear if you’re a Wizards fan. Most notably, he talks about how he has separated himself from certain friends who were the cause of trouble. He even apologized for taking so long to realize it, which is a remarkably mature move.

But if you’re looking for him to apologize for his appearance at a Miami club event billed as “Lap Dance Tuesday” you’ve got another thing coming. Because All-Day Dray is more than happy to clear that little situation up.

“That’s the one thing that kind of got me frustrated,” he said. “People were like, ‘Aw, he’s at a strip club!’ Or ‘He’s at a party where they give lap dances!’ That was far from the case. It wasn’t even close to the case. Everybody down in Miami knows that on Tuesday nights it’s a club called Cameo. It’s a club. Like if you go to Park, Josephine or Love here. On Tuesdays, it’s their theme. That’s how it is. It was a regular club. There were no lap dances involved. Nobody got no lap dances, no nothing.

“Why is everybody tripping on me hosting a party?” Blatche asked. “I host parties in D.C. all the time and I get no problem out of it. I went to Miami and it’s the offseason. The season is over. I’m just at a party and I get this. That was the craziest thing. I was like, I must have a target on my back, because if I can’t go to Miami and host a party and have fun with my friends, what can I do?”

via Andray Blatche: ‘I have to make changes’ – Wizards Insider – The Washington Post.

You know, it’s easy to point fingers and make judgments. But I’ve been to a half-dozen bachelor parties and a half-dozen guys’ weekends. I’ve partied and done stupid things and I’ve been responsible enough to not let them affect my professional life. Blatche was busted in 2007 for soliciting a prostitute, but still. If Blatche says he’s trying to make changes, he deserves the support of fans.

But he’s still pretty defensive of his right to party. Perhaps he heard a Beastie Boys song.

Watch Andre Roberson airball back-to-back free throws

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Andre Roberson is not a good free throw shooter, a career 48.9 percent from the stripe.

But even for him, this is ugly. Heck, for DeAndre Jordan would think this was ugly.  Against the Timberwolves Sunday night, Roberson airballed two free throws. In a row. You can see it above.

This game went on to have the most dramatic ending of any NBA game this season, with Carmelo Anthony and Andrew Wiggins trading big buckets but the Twolves getting the win on the road.

 

NBA Three Things to Know: Sun sets on Earl Watson in Phoenix

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Every day in the NBA there is a lot to unpack, so every weekday morning throughout the season we will give you the three things you need to know from the last 24 hours in the NBA. This is what you missed on Sunday while wondering if oyster vending machines are a good idea. (They’re not.)

1) Eric Bledsoe Tweets he wants out, hours later it’s Earl Watson who is out, fired as Suns coach. The Suns are a bad team, one that lacked offensive cohesion and defensive effort. Phoenix was blown out by 48 points by the Trail Blazers in their first game, the worst opening night loss in NBA history. It was an ugly start to the season. How could things possibly get worse from there?

Well, how about the Suns get blown out by 42 points in the third game of the season, have their best player Tweet he “doesn’t want to be here” then turn around and fire the coach? That’s what happened, and Earl Watson is out in Phoenix.

Watson was 33-85 as the Suns head coach, but that record isn’t a fair way to judge him — Suns management made him sit Eric Bledsoe and Tyson Chandler to tank at the end of last season, much to Watson’s frustration. This is a young team this season that is not going to be good no matter who coached it. But Watson’s Suns didn’t seem to have a strong offensive identity, didn’t play hard on defense, and there were doubts about his ability to develop young talent. Watson took over as an interim coach after the Suns fired Jeff Hornacek, then he went an unimpressive 9-24 in that role. However, he preached love and togetherness at a time the franchise needed it, and the players loved him, so despite the record management decided to give him a shot as a guy who could develop talent. Watson and GM Ryan McDonough were notoriously rarely on the same page, but Robert Sarver is not the kind of owner who will pay a couple of coaches at once, and the players loved Watson, so he stayed. Then, Eric Bledsoe tweeted this.

I’m not saying the two things are directly related, but if Watson was losing the players, he had little left.

The only question about this move is “why did they wait three games into the season?” Why not make their move over the summer, allowing a new coach to have a training camp to change the tenor of the team? Former Raptor coach (and Canadian national team coach) Jay Triano gets the job in the short term.

The Suns are a young, developing team but with some good pieces already in place — Devin Booker, Josh Jackson — and some guys who need to be brought along (Dragan Bender, Marquese Chriss). They need a strong developmental head coach, someone who can install a mindset and get the young guys playing hard. The Suns are going to lose a lot of games this season, and end up with a high draft pick, they are building for the future. They need their process, and they need a coach who can lead it.

2) Carmelo Anthony drains game-winning three… wait, no it’s Andrew Wiggins who drains game-winner for Timberwolves. For a couple of games (this one and the previous one against the Jazz) the Thunder have struggled with their offensive rhythm. Or, more accurately, they just missed shots. Through three quarters the Russell Westbrook/Paul George/Carmelo Anthony trio was 17-of-43 (39.5 percent) and 3-of-10 from three.

But after the Thunder second unit made it a game again, Westbrook found his groove late — he took over the offense, attacking, and going 6-of-9 in the fourth. Then came the big finish. Karl-Anthony Towns — who was a beast again with 27 points and 12 boards (but needs to take fewer threes if he keeps missing like this) — put the Timberwolves up two. With 8.9 seconds left Westbrook drove, drew two defenders, then shared the rock, found Anthony… and just watch for yourself.

Underrated on that last play: Towns set a massive screen to free up Wiggins and get him that look. Wiggins did not call bank, but as Paul Pierce said last season he did call game.

3) Clippers’ Milos Teodosic out indefinitely. The NBA just got a little less fun to watch. The Clippers brought the passing wizard over from Serbia as a 30-year-old rookie, and he was dishing.

Unfortunately, Teodosic is out indefinitely with a plantar fascia injury. The concern with the Clippers this season was not the talent but the health of a team leaning on Blake Griffin, Danilo Gallinari, and others with long injury histories. Hopefully for Los Angeles, the Teodosic injury is not the start of a trend.

Andrew Wiggins answers Carmelo with game-winning 3-pointer (VIDEO)

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Sunday’s matchup between the Oklahoma City Thunder and Minnesota Timberwolves was perhaps a preview of a Western Conference playoff series. We should certainly hope so given the late-game heroics we saw this weekend courtesy of Karl-Anthony Towns, Carmelo Anthony, and Andrew Wiggins.

The two teams played a razor thin matchup in the fourth quarter, with Towns hitting a floating shot with just nine seconds left to take the lead. OKC took the torch just seconds later when Carmelo hit a 3-pointer with less than five seconds to play from the left wing.

That left the Timberwolves down by one point with no timeouts to spare.

After Minnesota inbounded to the ball, Wiggins drove down the left sideline and toward the middle of the floor. With the clock running out, Wiggins pulled up from nearly 30 feet out and drained 3-pointer off the backboard as time expired.

Here’s what the two threes looked like back to back.

Via Twitter:

Today was absolutely mental in the NBA. Between the drama that’s happening with the Phoenix Suns and this Western Conference shootout, the regular season just keeps amping it up each and every day.

Clippers say Milos Teodosic out indefinitely with plantar fascia injury

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The LA Clippers needed everything to go right for them injury-wise to be able to survive losing Chris Paul the same year many teams in the Western Conference got much stronger. Sunday’s news that rookie Milos Teodosic is out indefinitely with a left plantar fascia injury won’t help the confidence of fans in southern California.

Teodosic suffered the injury during a game against the Phoenix Suns earlier in the week. Teodosic could be seen pulling up lame toward the near corner on a seemingly innocuous play, which you can watch above.

Here is the release from the team on Teodosic’s injury..

Via Twitter:

Teodosic was expected to be a boost for the Clippers’ offense, who lost Paul over the offseason to the Houston Rockets. Teodosic is a 30-year-old rookie whose passing acumen was sure to be a highlight reel staple over the course of the season.

Plantar fascia injuries can be tough for players to come back from, although the severity of the injury can vary greatly. In the past, players like Damian Lillard and Al Jefferson have made relatively speedy recoveries or have been able to play through the injury itself.

However, a plantar fascia issue can be a tough one and is often difficult to get to recover given the inherent stress level of the area and because soft tissue injuries can be pesky. Obviously, a word like “indefinitely” is pretty dang scary.

Meanwhile, the Suns had a few issues of their own on Sunday. They fired head coach Earl Watson and point guard Eric Bledsoe tweeted out that he no longer wanted to be “here”. The former Clippers point guard has already had lobbyists from LA come calling. Big man DeAndre Jordan already tweeted that he wanted Bledsoe to “come back home”.

Someone has to trade for Bledsoe. Might as well be the Clippers.