I’ve ripped on Andray Blatche a ton before. I’ve been dubbed a ‘Blatche hater’. Or rather, Blatche could be labeled as a ‘Kyle Frustrater’, and I’m not the only one this very naturally talented kid has baffled with his inability to truly succeed.
But this year, I started to come around. For one, toward the beginning of the season, Blatche actually showed some improvement, some maturity. Secondly, I’ve got to talk to him for the first time this year. A tad goofy, perhaps too much immaturity to truly take things seriously,yes … but also a decent guy who means well. Unfortunately, Andray doesn’t know how to convert that concept of meaning well into something meaningful.
Many have excused the actions of Blatche by citing his age while ignoring the higher maturity of those with just as many years and even less NBA experience. As recent as early 2009, when Blatche was hurt, he was partying. Hell, before last year’s 19-win season was even over, he was throwing an end-of-the season party . Not to say a guy can’t go out and have fun, but when other issues are prevalent, it doesn’t serve as a positive contribution to the overall equation.
Others have pointed the finger at Eddie Jordan, saying that perhaps Jordan’s tough love toward Andray was a hindrance. But now that Flip Saunders has arrived, a coach who, before the season, took the time to meticulously teach and encourage with positivity, who should serve as the scapegoat for Blatche’s recent woes? The recent woes coming in the form of a one-game suspension resulting from plain and simple selfishness. Also, check Andray’s January statistical splits. Despite almost four more minutes per game than in December, his average points and rebounds are down, and he’s shooting a horrid 38.9% from the field in 2010 … must be settling for too many jumpers.
Mike Jones (of Mike Jones Sports, naturally), has come out with a scathing profile of the latest from 7-Day-Dray, even going so far as to declare dead the full working-week persona Blatche created for himself in the off-season, the reason why he switched his jersey number from 32 to 7.
I’m not fully ready to kick Blatche to the curb like the franchise has done with Gilbert Arenas. But if Blatche were to go in a trade, I clearly wouldn’t lose any sleep. In fact, if Ernie Grunfeld is going to blow it up, he might as well send the unfulfilled expectations of Andray packing too. All the signs that this kid might not work out have been around for years and they continue to rear their ugly head.