Andray Blatche has never been questioned because of his frame or his basketball skills. His talent level hasn’t been doubted, because he’s capable of being an elite power forward. That is, if he could put that frame and those skills to good use. Blatche’s biggest limitation has always been the goings-on between his ears, as the discrepancy between intent and implementation too often results in turnovers, defensive lapses, and poor shot selection.
Now, with Blatche finding what’s perhaps the first real success of his career, it’s only natural that he play the role of his own worst enemy. From the Associated Press:
Washington forward Andray Blatche was benched after the first 7 1/2
minutes of the Wizards’ 95-86 loss to the Charlotte Bobcats on Tuesday
night. Coach Flip Saunders said Blatche didn’t want to listen when the coach wanted to talk to him about playing better defense. Saunders said Blatche then didn’t want to play the rest of the game.
Saunders said he’s never seen anything like it in his 15 years of coaching in the NBA. He said Blatche let the team down and the forward probably won’t play Wednesday night at Indiana.
Blatche may be physically ready to take his game to the next level, but at 23 he still has a bit of maturing to do. I wouldn’t say his career is doomed to suffer a series of repeat performances, but this kind of head-scratching behavior has more or less become par for the course when it comes to Andray. Whether or not he’ll ever figure it out is anybody’s guess, but each incident like this stacks the chips higher and higher against him.
Oh, and if Blatche self-destructing during the most productive stretch of his career isn’t enough for you, take a look at this flyer (courtesy of Mike Prada of Bullets Forever) promoting Andray as the Most Improved Player…on the same night that he ignored his coach and walked out on his teammates.