Haywood had an online chat session via ESPN last week and took the opportunity to subtly call out a couple of the Wiz kids. And what would be a Wizards offseason without hoping that certain someone finally gains some maturity?
When asked how he could help the young bigs, specifically Andray Blatche and JaVale McGee, Haywood responded, “Both those guys have the skill but it comes down to being in shape and wanting to do it. Nothing I can do to help them, they have to want to do it on their own.”
Blatche’s career issues have been well documented. From getting shot during a car-jacking, purportedly set-up by gold diggers after a night of clubbing, to sleeping at the arena because he couldn’t pay rent, to snacking on nachos before a game because he didn’t think he’d play, to soliciting an undercover D.C. cop posing as a prostitute, to getting arrested for reckless driving and driving on a suspended license (three times over), Andray has had plenty bumps in the road, somewhat validating why he was overlooked by many GMs en route to slipping to the second round out of high school.
Blatche also hasn’t shown the improvement expected of him on the court. Despite claims of being more mature and “hungry” before ’08-09, which was snicked at by Haywood and Antawn Jamison, Blatche’s flashes of brilliance have been plagued by long spells of inconsistency, which can be mostly attributed to his poor conditioning, and general lack of focus. He’s even been named to the NBA All-Scapegoat team (ok, well … nominated by me).
When it comes to opinions of Blatche, most fall into two categories. There are those Andray apologists who are willing to look past continued transgressions, citing Blatche’s age (he’ll only be 23 in August), while deeming it hypocritical for those such as Jamison to pass judgment. How dare Antawn speaking ill of Blatche when he can barely play defense; he needs to be guiding Andray and the kids, showing them how to be a veteran.
Others are tired of the excuses. Four seasons and 22+ years is more than enough time to get your shit together, whether you received a brow-beating from your old coach and/or teammates or not. Get over it. No one should have to expend energy holding Blatche’s hand.
(If you’ll notice this post mostly omits McGee. He gets a pass for being a rook last year, and for playing with fire and hustle when on the court.)
Haywood clearly falls into the latter category, as does Jamison, as did Eddie Jordan. It’s somewhat ironic, considering that Jordan often showed some tough love to Haywood and now Brendan is doing the same to Blatche. Sure the trails and tribulations between Jordan and Haywood were different. And maybe the tough times weren’t solely responsible for Haywood being the player he is today, a composed vet with blossoming maturity. But they sure didn’t set him back. Because Haywood is mentally tough, he’s shed the moniker, ‘Brenda’ … not because anyone coddled him.
Blatche has committed more bone-headed off-court mistakes than Haywood and looks lackadaisical enough to make you think he’ll never make it. But his affordability, and the brief times he shows his amazingly diverse basketball skill-set are just enough to keep him around a bit longer (that is, if he can’t be cashed in with a trade this summer). Andray might even be likable in a situation where he is the second big off the bench, with the opportunity to get more run. Guess what I’m saying is that I’m willing to give Blatche one more chance. Silly me.