So this one time, Zach Lowe
completely ripped Andray Blatche apart accurately described Andray Blatcheâ€™s season.
BlatcheÂ played much of last season (and prior seasons, really) like an entitled pseudo-star, hogging the ball on offense, taking awful shots and playing some of the least-inspired defense youâ€™ll ever see. Injuries may have contributed to all of this, but Blatche could feel confident the Wizards didnâ€™t really have anyone else to take his minutes. Thatâ€™s still true â€¦ for now.
Lowe was saying that, with the Wizards drafting Jan Vesely and Chris Singleton, Blatche should be feeling some pressure to get his act in gear. And guess what? He says heâ€™s doing that.
â€œIâ€™m 25 years old,â€ said Blatche, who celebrated his birthday last month with John Wall, Hamady Ndiaye, Josh Howard and Trevor Booker in South Beach. â€œIâ€™ve been in the league six years now. I know my goal. I want to be an all-star. And to be an all-star, I have to make changes, and those are the changes that I have to make now.
â€œI took the time to cut back on some friends and some people, and built myself around better people that know whatâ€™s best for me,â€ he said. â€œIâ€™m sorry that it took so long for me to realize it, but itâ€™s all about growing and maturing and thatâ€™s basically what Iâ€™m doing.â€
Thatâ€™s all awesome. Itâ€™s always good to hear a player say heâ€™s trying to grow. But letâ€™s go back to last year, when we were supposed to be excited about his strength instead of worried about his foot injury.
“I keep working hard and going through rehab,” Blatche said recently. “I changed my diet, working harder. Eating right and drinking right. Before the foot injury, I was in the gym every day working, so my body could be ready for the 82 games. That’s the main thing for me, my body. That’s what I’m focusing on. Just rehabbing, taking it day by day, working out. Not trying to be lazy. So, I’m getting in the weight room.”
And the summer before that? Thatâ€™s when he decided to change his number because he was a new man. A harder-working man.
“We’ve got a new coaching staff, we changed a lot, so it’s time for me to change my whole style, my whole mentality,” Blatche said Wednesday afternoon. “I’m wearing 7, and that means seven days [a week] of hard work, seven days of being focused. I’m all about business, and I’ve got a big opportunity I’m gonna take advantage of.”
Iâ€™m not trying to be all snarky and tell you that he doesnâ€™t care about getting better or heâ€™s lying. I believe he wants to get better now, and I believe he wanted to two years ago, after his mom called him out. I guess Iâ€™m just not sure heâ€™s got that focus in him. Some guys just donâ€™t. He said it himself, heâ€™s been in the league for six years! At this point, if your defense is still being compared to that of a high schooler or a hungover zombie, itâ€™s hard for me to bet on you. I still really want to believe because, goddamn, heâ€™s 6â€™11 with guard skills, but reading about maturing and making changes isnâ€™t going to get me on the bandwagon. Iâ€™ve seen him take some of the worst shots ever and repeatedly offer no resistance at all on the defensive end â€” when I see him make changes on the court, Iâ€™ll be impressed. I sincerely hope this is the year.