With Thursday off, the Wizards will be back in summer league action tonight against Oleksiy Pecherov and the Minnesota Timberwolves at 8 pm. I won’t be able to catch the game live since I’ll be checking the John Legend concert at Merriweather … so I’ll depend on the usual Twitter suspects to keep me updated on the goings-ons. But until then …
More positive signs regarding Andray Blatche? The DC Sports Bog reports:
Many of you have expressed doubts about Blatche’s recent promise to take advantage of his latest opportunity, and it’s understandable, given the relationship between what he’s said and what’s done in the past. I can say that, without a doubt, he’s made some weird quantum leap in talking with the media. I’ve never seen him anywhere close to as good with the media as he’s been this week. Here’s what he said about his teammates, and bear in mind, I asked the question, he wasn’t just offering this up.
“JaVale’s a great player,’ Blatche said. “If he focuses on the things he does the best, that make the crowd love him–blocking shots, rebounding, and then if he’s at the rim and he’s got a put back, put it back. That’s what I want him to focus on more. Because he’s a great player, if he just sticks to that. And Nick, I see a big improvement in Nick. His shot is more efficient, and they have him playing defense this year. Dominic, you know what to expect from him, he’s gonna play defense no matter what. He’s a real hustle player, a lot of energy. So everybody’s making improvements.”
And also, Blatche on the summer league game two loss:
“Man, it was crazy. A lot of the guys were trying to go off themselves, but in reality it’s more than just playing for yourself, it’s playing for your team. So that set us back. A lot of selfish play, and after one person did it, another person did it, another person did it. After a while it just turned into a big mess.”
Sounds great. I just hope that Andray is drinking his own kool-aid and really practices what he’s preaching. Yea, everyone has heard “talk” from Blatche before, so it’s nothing new for me to advise people to take it with a grain of salt.
But I do find it funny how in talking about ‘selfish play’, Blatche doesn’t exactly include himself (ok, yea … he doesn’t exclude himself either). In case you weren’t aware, Andray jacked more than anyone else on the team in game two. I’ll let Mike Prada of Bulets Forever describe:
Andray Blatche had a good game, but he also monopolized the ball on offense and prevented the rest of the team from getting into a rhythm. Part of that was necessitated by Denver’s pressure, but Blatche certainly forced some shots, even if they went in.
Oh, and not to forget that in the first game, Blatche was talking jive with Antawn Jamison on the sidelines, worrying about getting his numbers.
Look, I’m glad that Andray has learned how to deal with the media, I just wish that in the process of his “talk,” the guy wouldn’t contradict himself.
And if it feels like I’m beating a dead horse since I covered Blatche two posts ago, well, I am … the damn thing won’t die. Maybe I should burn it like Chris Cooley. But really, the only way to break this Andray Blatche stigma is if he burns my frustration/criticism with good, consistent play.
Around The World Wide Wizards Web:
I did an interview about the Wizards with NBATipoff.com. Go ahead … run along and check it out now.
“There are certain guys in the league that have an established reputation and you know what they can do, that they bring it every night. Steph is one of those guys. I’ve known Steph since high school, and the things that he’s accomplished as a person and as a player speak volumes. He’s one of those guys that can’t do anything but help the team out and make it a better team.”
Some people are misconstruing this comment and interpreting it as a Jamison endorsement of Marbury to the Wizards, him thinking that ‘Starbury’ would be a fit.
Chill out … he’s just trying to be diplomatic. Behind closed doors, Jamison would undoubtedly say that Marbury would not mesh with the current roster.
Moving on ….
>> Add Ike Diogu to the smorgasbord of third tier free-agent scraps the Wizards have contacted. [The Sac Bee]
I actually like Diogu. He doesn’t exactly fit the ‘veteran desired to be a leader and contribute immediately’ role. But if the Wiz can sign him on the cheap for three years, I’d be happy to have him develop as a piece of insurance.
>> Speaking of scraps, Jake The Snake comes up with some possibles who might be available in the middle of the season. [Bullets Forever]
We’re just trying to care of our own business and let [other teams] take care of their business. They made some moves, but we also made some moves. We were the first to make a move, so everybody’s following us (chuckles). – Ernie Grunfeld via an interview with Mike Prada of Bullets Forever
The one thing that really stood out to me was JaVale McGee’s poor play. He had five blocks, but otherwise seemed out of it. There was one possession in the first quarter when he didn’t get the ball in the post and just didn’t run back on defense. There was another play late in the second half when he got popped in the mouth and languished in the backcourt smarting from the blow, which drew the ire of Randy Wittman. JaVale only played 24 minutes and didn’t exactly impress the coaches during that stretch.
“In the post he’s just settling for fall-away jump shots, there’s nothing to the basket,” Wittman said after the game. “He’s got to become a stronger player, he’s got to get physically stronger and then he’s got to play that way when he’s in the post.”
My overall impression is that the Wizards really need to work on setting screens. Andray in particular. He runs up way beyond the arc to set the screen (too high). Then puts his arms straight up in the air and sticks his hip out to bump the guy (foul). Then he just stands there for a second and jogs back into the lane. (Roll!) I learned pick & roll when I was 4 years old, its not that hard.
>> Even Nick Young’s “mean face” looks goofy. [DC Sports Bog]
>> Will the switch of WJFK make me start listening to sports talk radio? Could be likely.
Great line about from Stet Sports about what his currently DC’s only sports talk station, ESPN 980:
If the 980 lineup was a hand in spades, they would be holding a queen of spades, an ace of hearts, and no other face cards.
Damn I miss playing spades with my college friends … it’s been too long.
>> Interview with Mike Miller via NBA.com (embedded video below). Dude looks like he could fit in among the pictures on this site.