[D.C. Council: setting the scene, rating the starters, assessing the subs, providing the analysis, and catching anything that you may have missed. Unlike the real DC Council, everything here is on the table. Game No. 31, Washington Wizards vs. Brooklyn Nets in D.C.; contributor: Rashad Mobley on the scene, with Adam McGinnis and John Converse Townsend from behind the television screen.]
The Washington Wizards suck. No getting around that. They suck so bad that toward the end of Monday night’s loss, as the San Antonio Spurs wound down a 26-point lead, fans yelled for the defending Wizards to foul. Yes, Verizon Center faithful, those who had not yet headed for the hills, wanted the Spurs to shoot free throws. Why? So fans could have a chance to boo those free throws into misses; so they could potentially win free chicken sandwiches if a Spur missed both.
And then there’s Andray Blatche. Ted Leonsis and Ernie Grunfeld once had the idea of constructing a bridge to nowhere when they rewarded Blatche with a contract extension in 2010. Blatche returned the favor with lazy basketball and an unmotivated existence. Then the Wizards amnestied him last July. Of mice and men, of Andray Blatche.
But everyone had moved on. Well-wishers have expressed hope that Blatche would turn the corner. And he has, to an extent. In 12 games with the Brooklyn Nets, Blatche is sporting a career-high PER of 20.6, which is 26th best in the NBA this season amongst those who have played at least 200 minutes. Still, the revitalized Blatche will always carry with him the stigma of the past. Because the Internets say so.
And sure, Blatche is playing well, but it’s not rare that such evaluations of his nights show up on Nets blog, The Brooklyn Game (from Nov. 23rd): Read more »
Dealing with the enigma known as Andray Blatche has been ingrained into the psyche of Wizards fans for the better part of decade. It’s an odd feeling to begin this new season without having to hope it’s the one where Blatche finally reaches his potential. Breaking free from the emotional shackles of Blatche was the main reason why Washington’s decision use the amnesty clause on him was such a popular move throughout the fan base. The toll had become too much for all parties involved and a clean break was needed.
Exercising a low-risk financial move, the Brooklyn Nets began their attempt to rescue Blatche’s basketball career by signing him to a one-year, non-guaranteed contract in September. His rehabilitation has been dubbed “Project Zero.” Blatche has also chosen to wear the number zero on his uniform, in part to honor Gilbert Arenas, but mostly because it represents the amount of support Blatche thought he had after parting ways with the Wizards.
(Yes, it’s true. Andray is reportedly in great shape and impressing people with his positive attitude. Nets teammates and coaches have heaped praise on Blatche for his work ethic. Sound familiar?)
In twisted sports fate, Brooklyn will host their first basketball game in their new arena, the Barclays Center, versus the Wizards tonight. Arenas, “Agent Zero,” played his last game with Wizards against the Nets in New Jersey – Gilbert Areans screwed up at the end, of course, and the Wizards lost. Now, “Project Zero” officially begins in Brooklyn against team that will continue to pay him not to play for them. Ain’t that something?