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Gilbert Arenas? No. It’s Andray Blatche that really matters to Washington

Oct 15, 2010, 8:30 PM EDT

Blatche_Garnett

The last time Gilbert Arenas really mattered on the court for the Washington Wizards was four years ago.

That hasn’t stopped him from being the preseason focus of the team, what with fake injuries, the not fake injuries and very important questions about his beard.

But Andray Blatche matters a lot more to this year’s Wizards and how they do than Arenas, as Kyle Weidie at Truth About It hammered home today, complete with quotes from Blatche and Flip Saunders.

“I don’t know what my role in his offense … I’m just doing … I don’t know, I’m just playing the game of basketball,” Blatche quickly quipped after the game when I asked him how he felt his role was coming along in the offense.

“Our bigs basically tried to play too much perimeter,” Saunders added to his analysis of the offense. “That’s something we have got to clean up.  We got to have a thrust inside.  They keep on popping out, popping out.  That just isn’t going to work.  We got to have more of a presence in the paint…

“Dray’s the low post scorer. As a four, he’s about as good a low post scorer as there is … you know, if you look at fours around the league,” said Saunders when asked about his team’s overall low post situation. “We just got to get his big butt down there more often more often, and not having to keep poppin’ out there all the time. Because that’s were he’s most effective, is down there on the block.”

Blatche has to be the guy scoring in the paint because Yi Jianlian can and should step out, while JaVale McGee and Hilton Armstrong will step out whether they should or not. Yet of his 17 shots against the Bucks eight were beyond 15 feet. He shot 25 percent beyond 15 feet, 66 percent inside 15 feet.

That said, Wall needs to get the ball to Blatche off cuts or as part of the pick-and-roll, not just lob it in to him in the post. Last season Blatche shot 46.7 percent when given the ball in the post, 38.9 percent when he got the ball in isolation. As the pick setter in the pick-and-roll that jumped to 52.1 percent.

Blatche is no longer option number one, as he was at the end of last season. Actually, he was option two and three at that point as well. Now John Wall gets to make the decisions and guys like Jianlian and Arenas are earning touches. Blatche seems unable or unwilling to adjust.

If he doesn’t, what Arenas does will not matter much because the Wizards will not go far.

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