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.

Donovan Mitchell homers in first at bat in James Harden’s charity softball game

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This is probably not going to show up in “And That Happened” but it was pretty impressive nonetheless.

Jazz star Donovan Mitchell was among the many NBA players and celebrities at the James Harden Celebrity Softball game (part of his J-Town weekend of events). Mitchell came up with one on and… yard.

Is there anything Mitchell can’t do?

He wasn’t the only celebrity to knock it out of the park, Travis Scott sent one to Astroworld. Harden was impressed.

Celtics’ Jayson Tatum says Kobe Bryant helped him with his post game, mental toughness

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Jayson Tatum had an impressive rookie season: 13.9 points and five rebounds a game, 43.4 percent shooting from three, a 15.3 PER, and a strong playoff run that helped the Celtics reach the Eastern Conference Finals.

Where did he turn to get better this summer? Kobe Bryant.

While a Celtic reaching out to a Laker legend for advice may throw an old-timer off, there are few better students of the game than Kobe, let alone ones as well respected by a generation, a guy who can get through to them. Tatum worked out with Kobe and was clearly excited about it speaking to Chris Forsberg of ESPN.

A stronger Tatum who can punish mismatches in the post is a scary thing.

Tatum and Jaylen Brown led a real push for the Celtics in the postseason, it will be a bit of an adjustment with Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward back because the young stars may not get the same number of touches and opportunities. The pie is going to be divided up more ways. With Brad Stevens at the helm we all expect the transition to go smoothly, and for the Celtics to contend for a title, but it is something to watch early in the season.

Bob Bass, former GM in San Antonio and Charlotte, dead at 89

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SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Bob Bass, the former San Antonio and Charlotte general manager who was an integral part of the front office for most of the Spurs’ first 20 years in South Texas, has died. He was 89.

Bass’ death was confirmed by the club Saturday in a statement from coach Gregg Popovich. The San Antonio Express-News reported that Bass died Friday at home in San Antonio after a series of strokes.

“Over the course of four decades, Bob Bass had a huge impact in both the ABA and NBA,” Popovich said in a statement released by the team. “BB was a true pioneer in the world of professional basketball. His knowledge, passion and dedication to the game were inspiring. We send our condolences to the entire Bass family.”

After getting hired as coach during the Spurs’ second season in San Antonio in 1974-75, Bass joined the front office as general manager when the club moved from the ABA to the NBA in 1976.

The two-time NBA Executive of the Year spent 20 seasons with the Spurs in various roles – returning three times as coach – before going to Charlotte as the GM in 1994. He spent nine seasons with the Hornets. Bass coached his alma mater of Oklahoma Baptist from 1952-1967, first joined the ABA as coach of the Denver Rockets in 1967-1968. He went back to college at Texas Tech from 1969-1971, then back to the ABA with the Floridians in 1971-1972 and the Memphis Tams in 1973-1974 before landing with the Spurs.

Bass had a 311-300 career regular-season coaching record in the ABA and NBA.

 

What is Jamal Crawford looking for in a new home? “Fit”

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It’s a little surprising Jamal Crawford is still available as a free agent. Yes, he is 38, and his skills and his efficiency have slipped in recent years, but the man can still get buckets off the bench and averaged 10.3 points per game last season in Minnesota.

He turned down an $4.5 million player option and is still waiting for a contract. What is he looking for? He talked about it with Percy Allen of the Seattle Times, in a story about the amazing pro-am Crawford runs in Seattle every summer.

The three-time Sixth Man of the Year is an unrestricted free agent, which he said is equally worrisome and exciting…

“Fit is first and foremost when I’m thinking about where I’ll play next,” said Crawford, who wants to play another 2-3 years. “Last year, I may have made the mistake of not thinking fit all the way through.

“You look at my career, when the fit was right, I contributed on the court. … I know people that care for me want me to win (an NBA title), but I don’t know if my career will be defined by that.”

Crawford’s name was rumored with contenders such as Golden State and Houston, but nothing came of any of it. At this point Crawford is not going to be able to be as picky about fit, he may have to look at any offers that come in.

Most teams’ rosters are set, and at this point in the summer most teams are happy with their rosters, or at least have talked themselves into being happy with it. Crawford may be a guy who gets a call a couple weeks into training camp, or a week or two into the season, when a team realizes its bench was not as impressive as it thought. There are teams he could still help, even if those teams don’t realize it yet.