What’s The Difference In Andray Blatche? | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

What’s The Difference In Andray Blatche?

Updated: April 6, 2011

[Blatche celebrates a close win over the Pistons.]

Andray Blatche. Yes, that Andray Blatche … Party All Dray. He’s been a little bit different lately, hasn’t he? Sure has. Averaging 25.6 points and 13.7 rebounds per 36 minutes in the last four games (up from his 17.4 and 8.7 respective averages per 36 for the season), since his return from injury is certainly a strong indication that things could be different for Blatche.

Straight and to the point, he’s been attacking the rim. Living in the paint. Doing the dirty work down low. All the good stuff the team has always needed Andray Blatche to do, but has never quite been satisfied.

Against the Detroit Pistons on Tuesday night, the Wizards’ third win in a row (for the first time since April 2008), Blatche forced in 26 points on 8-18 shooting. Four of his misses came from inside five-feet from the rim (which is a good thing), and he made 7-8 of his field-goal attempts within two-feet.

Another treat resulting from Dray’s interior work: free-throws. He shot 12 of them, made 10 — 12 being the third most free-throw attempts in his 378 game career (he attempted 14 twice earlier this year, a November 2 win over Philadelphia and a close November 29 loss to the Heat in Miami). Also, two of Blatche’s free-throws against the Pistons came through in the clutch, giving the Wizards a four point lead with nine seconds left. Andray nailed his after rookie Greg Monroe missed two from the line that would have tied the game with 10 seconds left. And guess who secured the strong rebound after Monroe’s second miss? You got it, the man once known as simply: “Baltche.”

But back to Andray nailing seven of his eight field-goal attempts at the rim. He’s played in 59 games this season and has had eight or more attempts at the rim in 13 of those games. When this happens, the Wizards have a 9-4 record. The opponent, however, should also be considered. These instances of rim jobs came against the likes of Charlotte (twice), Toronto (three times), Cleveland, Detroit, Houston, Indiana, Philadelphia (twice) and Miami — an average opponent winning-percentage of .400. [Note: two of Blatche’s games of 10-plus field-goal attempts at the rim came last Friday versus Cleveland and last Sunday versus Charlotte.]

The Wizards have a 6-19 record when Blatche’s at-the-rim attempts are between five and seven shots per game. The average winning-percentage of those opponents is .520.

Continuing, the Wizards are 3-18 when Blatche attempts four or less shots at the rim, the average winning-percentage of those opponents is .536.

So, we’ve established that the Wizards lose when they play good teams, that they fare better when Blatche has more attempts at the rim, and that Blatche plays better against crappy opponents. Let’s look at a pretty chart to illustrate…

[stats via HoopData and Basketball-Reference.com]

A lot of this goes without saying, but the numbers, in their limited snapshot illustration, could be a measure of future expectation, IF…

…IF Blatche decides he wants to take action at the rim all the time, against tough competition. Tonight against the Pacers in Indiana will be a good test. Friday against the Celtics in Boston will be an even better test. Will Blatche work inside on the road when it might be a little harder? Or will he settle for jump shots? That’s for him to determine.

It’s nice that Ted Leonsis now wants to anoint Blatche, along with Jordan Crawford and John Wall, as the “new big three” (boy, Nick Young was quickly tossed aside, wasn’t he?), but that silliness clouds reality with marketing fluff. Who the real Andray Blatche is has yet to be seen. Let’s hope the last three games is more of a blueprint for success and less of a free, whimsical, meaningless, temporary brand of basketball.

After the Pistons win, I asked Flip Saunders, Mo Evans and John Wall about the difference they’ve seen in Andray.

Flip on Blatche last year post-trade deadline versus this recent three-game stretch:

“I think he’s been much more patient and he hasn’t gotten frustrated. Last year he might have gotten a little frustrated because he wasn’t getting the ball. [Tonight] he kept doing the things that he’s supposed to do, defensively tried to rebound, and I think he knew that we’d come back to him [on offense]. He made some big plays down the stretch, and made big free-throws.”

Mo Evans:

John Wall:

Andray grabs big rebound after Greg Monroe misses his second free-throw:

[all photos: Kyle Weidie, Truth About It.net]

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Kyle Weidie
Founder / Editor / Reporter / Writer at TAI
Kyle founded TAI in 2007 and has been weaving in and out the world of Wizards ever since, ducking WittmanFaces, jumping over G-Wiz, and avoiding stints on the DNP-Conditioning list. He has covered the Washington pro basketball team as a member of the media since 2009. Kyle lives in D.C. with his wife, loves basketball, and has no pets.

  • Jake

    What’s the difference in Andray Blatche? He can see the light at the end of the long season’s tunnel. He did this last year too. I’ll drink the Kool-Aid when he does it for the first 60 games too. I hate being a downer when I’m so excited about the young guys’ play, but Dray had worn me out with hoping on him. Sorry to be so cynical.

  • Brendan Mackesey

    7-Day Dray will be back in full force next year…I expect him to average around a double-double. Make no mistake about it, this team NEEDS Dray of they want to make the playoffs next year!

  • star_bury

    Is there a point on that graph where the winning percentages actually add up to 100% combined?

  • rbp

    We’ve all seen this movie before. Blatche has had stretches where he has played great, followed by longer stretches where he’s settled for outside shots, not gone to the boards, and generally disappeared from games (which takes some doing for a near seven-footer). Talk to me when he plays like this over an extended period of time, like, say, half a season at least.

  • Star_Bury …

    No, because the Wizards’ winning percentage only comes in the games against those teams.

    The opponent winning percentage is a cumulative average in games up to the point of the season when I did the chart (Tuesday night).

  • “Who the real Andray Blatche is has yet to be seen.”

    I’m with Jake on this. The real Andray Blatche is the one we have seen for years now: gifted and dominant WHEN he tries, but the kind of guy who doesn’t try hard enough consistently enough. At some point you are who you are, and you’re not your potential. That point has long since passed for Dray.

  • Incandescent Rex

    I’d like to think a light has come on for him, but wouldn’t bet my life on it. The question is will Dray start getting a puffed up ego after having a nice stretch of games and return to his high volume, outside shooting ways? My fear is that once he gets comfortable again, he’ll revert to lazy entitled Dray.

  • chippy

    zach randolph was very similar for years and finally stayed down low(for the most part), and is living up to his potential. hopefully dray follows suit

  • Incandescent Rex

    Randolph’s actually a very good comparison chippy. Hadn’t thought of that one, but it fits, although Dray’s legal troubles have never been as bad as Randolph’s. Unfortunately, if Dray really follows suit with Randolph, he’ll need to get traded away a couple of times before he stays down low for good.

  • Joe K

    I wonder how his life is going off the court over the span of these last few? It upsets you, and makes you happy, that he is playing this way all of a sudden.

    For me, it upsets me, with his talent and skill set as an offensive player, this man should have a double double every night and lead his teammates, emotionally and with a few stats.

    He is still not as mature as he should be, and he has alot of heart and physical work ethic to build up to become a better teammate and defender.

    He needs to hit the gym hard this off season and get in better game shape.