I feel like this whole situation may be going in circles, but the horse is not dead yet … and another couple of beatings is well worth the words. So here goes …
All the Andray Blatche defenders, including himself, baffle me. C’mon folks, this guy has a long track record. How can he be given even an ounce of the benefit of the doubt?
- The coaches wanted to talk to Blatche after checking him out of Tuesday’s game against Charlotte. He refused. As a player, you CANNOT do that. No arguments. Initially, Andray went to sit in what would be a seemingly normal place on the bench for him, but then immediately got up and moved further away … to the very last seat on the bench … so he wouldn’t have to hear it.
- Blatche claims he stayed “ready” to play. I don’t know about you guys, but a guy staring off into wherever, more concerned with biting his finger nails, is not ready to play in my book. Blatche’s poor body language cannot be overlooked. I implore you to try to coach a team full of guys who act in that manner.
- Flip Saunders said coaches went up to Blatche three different times, which is different from three different coaches going up to Blatche, as Andray and some others have said.
“Have the three coaches come out and say, ‘Yeah, I was one of the coaches that said something to him.’ And I would guarantee that you could not find three. You can’t find one. Have the media do that….,”Blatche told Mike Wise.
Uh Dray … the media doesn’t have to because you, yourself, admitted that Sam Cassell talked to you and that Gene Banks spoke with you at halftime. The difference here between two and three is so negligible that either the “supposed” third time can be ignored, or just faithfully believed that either of those two coaches, or another, could have spoken with Andray a third time.
- Blatche claims that he never said that he didn’t not want to play, which may be true. But let’s break down Flip Saunders’ quote.
“Told him, ‘If you don’t want to come and talk, don’t want to be coached, you’re not going to play.’ … just said he didn’t want to play.”
The onus is on Blatche to go up and talk to Flip, the head coach of the basketball team if you need a reminder, after he ignored him, not the other way around. As Saunders said before the Pacers game:
“The bottom line is, the coaches [Sam Cassell and Gene Banks] went and talked to him. If he wanted to play, he should’ve come and talked to me. He didn’t feel it was important, in order to do that. Everybody has to understand, when you have a situation where you agree or disagree, you have to respect the position of a coach. As I said, whether you think the coach is right or wrong, the coach is right in those types of situations.”
Perhaps Andray didn’t verbally say that he didn’t want to play. But as anyone will tell you, actions speak louder than words. Blatche’s body language and the fact that he did not go up to Flip Saunders after he committed the initial transgression speaks volumes.
Nonetheless, Blatche played against the Pacers late night … wasn’t that great, turned the ball over, rebounded like a 6’4″ guy who is afraid of contact, yet led the team in scoring because he took the most shots and played the most minutes.
Yesterday the 23-year old showed his adolescent immaturity by continuing to insist he did nothing wrong (well, only admits to 25-percent of the blame), by saying that he wasn’t worried, and by giving an indignant “I wonder why” when he was told he was going to start in Indiana … well, I assume the quote was of an indignant nature, going off how Blatche has acted, but I wasn’t there to hear him “wonder.”
Now, I don’t really want to get into the whole ‘should he vs. shouldn’t he have been suspended’ argument. I don’t really care that he wasn’t and I don’t think it indicates some dramatic detriment to the future.
I am disappointed in Andray. Well, I’ve almost always been disappointed in Andray, but have grown to like him a bit more this season. But he continues to find ways to dig himself in a hole and this latest sense of entitlement from him just because he’s played a handful of good games for a crappy team is sickening. What’s worse is that Blatche is hurting his own value around the league, which in turn, hurts the franchise that might find itself needing to get rid of him.
On a related side note …
Don’t take this post to be an excuse for or defense of Flip Saunders. Far from it. Mike Jones of CSN Washington put it best:
One thing’s for sure, both men likely could have handled the situation differently. Had Blatche simply stopped and heard what Saunders had to say, this may have never escalated to this point.
Saunders told reporters, “Coaches aren’t wrong, no matter what. When a coach wants to teach you something, and you think you’re above that because you’ve played, what, 16 good games?”
But Saunders’ handling of the immediate aftermath could have been improved. Had he simply said, “I tried to coach him up on something and he wasn’t trying to hear it, but it’s an internal matter and I’ll handle that and I’m not commenting further,” that could have spared further damage, and prevented additional public airing of something that may or may not have been a heat-of-battle misunderstanding.