Sep 11, 2011, 2:00 PM EST
Andray Blatche has a world of talent. Long, with scoring versatility and an offensive viciousness, he’s not lacking for ability. But he’s never shown the mental component to cash in on the talent. Consider that as a stretch four in the first year after of his mega-extension, he shot 32% from the 16-23 range. He struggled with injuries last year, which would be a decent excuse, except that he shot 39 percent the year before. A 75-year-old Kevin Garnett shot 47 percent from that same spot last year. He shot 32 percent in ISO situations according to Synergy, 36 percent in the post, 46 percent on spot-up opportunities. His 16.9 PER is above-average,but nothing to get super-excited about. In short, Blatche has not exhibited a stellar savvy game or high level of efficiency offensively.
Stunningly, his defensive numbers from Synergy are pretty good. Allowed just 36 percent in the pick and roll as the big defender, 47 percent in the post, and 41 percent in ISO. His overall .86 points per possession is actually in the 65th percentile. So again, there’s some talent there.
But what has always been in question is whether or not he’s willing to work to mature into a complete player, and whether he’ll put away the things that keep him distracted off the court. The Washington Post has a feature with Blatche in which he proclaims a lot of things that you want to hear if you’re a Wizards fan. Most notably, he talks about how he has separated himself from certain friends who were the cause of trouble. He even apologized for taking so long to realize it, which is a remarkably mature move.
But if you’re looking for him to apologize for his appearance at a Miami club event billed as “Lap Dance Tuesday” you’ve got another thing coming. Because All-Day Dray is more than happy to clear that little situation up.
“That’s the one thing that kind of got me frustrated,” he said. “People were like, ‘Aw, he’s at a strip club!’ Or ‘He’s at a party where they give lap dances!’ That was far from the case. It wasn’t even close to the case. Everybody down in Miami knows that on Tuesday nights it’s a club called Cameo. It’s a club. Like if you go to Park, Josephine or Love here. On Tuesdays, it’s their theme. That’s how it is. It was a regular club. There were no lap dances involved. Nobody got no lap dances, no nothing.
“Why is everybody tripping on me hosting a party?” Blatche asked. “I host parties in D.C. all the time and I get no problem out of it. I went to Miami and it’s the offseason. The season is over. I’m just at a party and I get this. That was the craziest thing. I was like, I must have a target on my back, because if I can’t go to Miami and host a party and have fun with my friends, what can I do?”
You know, it’s easy to point fingers and make judgments. But I’ve been to a half-dozen bachelor parties and a half-dozen guys’ weekends. I’ve partied and done stupid things and I’ve been responsible enough to not let them affect my professional life. Blatche was busted in 2007 for soliciting a prostitute, but still. If Blatche says he’s trying to make changes, he deserves the support of fans.
But he’s still pretty defensive of his right to party. Perhaps he heard a Beastie Boys song.
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