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Andray Blatche, waiting to hear his name

(By Adam Douglas - Truth About It)

Neither Andray Blatche nor Flip Saunders is looking particularly noble in their back-and-forth, but Blatche at least got some vindication when he earned the start Wednesday night. As it became clear he was going to come out all right, he continued to pound home his version of events. Here's from Michael Lee's blog:

Blatche said he fully expected to get back into the game. "I had the heat pack on my leg. Shoes was tied up, everything was laced. I was waiting to hear my name, but my name wasn't called."

Look, Blatche has made a convincing case for his side of the argument, here and elsewhere. But man, this photo from Truth About It's epic recap of the incident doesn't particularly indicate a player laced up, ready to go, waiting only to hear his name.

Maybe at some point both fellas could admit they got a bit overheated and probably could have acted better.

(Mike Wilbon, by the way, doesn't share this "both sides were at fault" point of view. Here's what he wrote about Blatche:

He's exactly what a rebuilding franchise doesn't need, which is to say a knucklehead who thinks putting up big but meaningless numbers for a bad team makes him Wilt Chamberlain.....I used to think Wizards players exaggerated when they said Blatche was the laziest player they'd ever seen, one of the most uncoachable as well. But their criticisms weren't hyperbole.

So I guess he doesn't think Blatche should wait for an apology.)

By Dan Steinberg  |  March 25, 2010; 11:37 AM ET
Categories:  Wizards  
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"When the dust cleared from the trades, Blatche looked over his shoulder and didn't see Butler, Jamison or Butler. Blatche is now the senior member of the Wizards. No more excuses about no playing time being available, no shots or rebounds being available. And I'll say this for the kid: He's made not just the most of it; he's in the process of changing his career because of it.

"Yes, it's only (16) games and we need to see a lot bigger sample size after four years of underachieving. But we also have to look at what Blatche can do over a stretch of games. The Wizards coaches and executives very quietly hoped he would jump from a nine points and five rebounds per game kind of player to, say, 16 and 7 or 17 and 8.

"But look at what he's done in points and rebounds since the trade: 33 and 13 (vs. Minnesota), 18-11 (vs. playoff-bound Denver), 24-6 (against playoff-bound Toronto), 25-11 (vs. playoff-bound Chicago), 24-8 (against a terrific Memphis frontcourt), 26-18 (vs. New York) and 36-15 (vs. New Jersey).

"With the chance to play, Blatche is finally doing what the team has asked him to do for awhile. Word is he's in the weight room regularly, is practicing harder, trying on the defensive end. In the victory over the Nets the other night, Blatche became the first Washington player to have 15 baskets and 15 rebounds in a game since Tom Gugliotta did it for the Bullets in November of 1992. In that same game he became the first player this season to post numbers of at least 36 points, 15 rebounds, four assists, two steals and two blocked shots in one game. Nobody had done it in a Bullets/Wizards uniform since Elvin Hayes 35 years ago.

"...Blatche doesn't have to worry that Wizards management, including the team's trainers, only worries about the star players. Hell, he is the star player...

"Simply, Blatche didn't know how to be a professional basketball player, which is to be blamed largely on the NBA for ever having allowed kids to make the jump in the first place.

"But all that seems so unnecessary to talk about now. With making the playoffs not an option and the team starting over from scratch, it's intriguing to follow a 23-year-old who is 6-foot-11 with this skill set. It's like finding a free agent in your own locker room. One player who can fill up a stat sheet makes an inordinate difference in basketball. Whatever we thought of's not just fair to reassess, it's mandatory." -Mike Wilbon, 2 weeks ago

Posted by: Barno1 | March 25, 2010 12:58 PM | Report abuse

As hysterical as Wilbon's 180 on Blatche was (or is it a 360, given his original opinion of Blatche), I think his flip flop on Arenas is even more absurd:

Jan. 3

"If it is determined that there was [the threat of gun play], Arenas has to be suspended. Beyond that, smart team counsel would look seriously into trying to void what's left of Arenas's $111 million contract.

"...when the drama exceeds the productivity to this extreme, especially when we're talking about guns, Arenas has got to go."
Jan.5...In a column titled "Al Sharpton speaks wisely about Gilbert Arenas"

Wilbon again and again praises Sharpton's involvement in trying to get David Stern to throw the book at Arenas. He said, without any evidence to back it up, that "members of his team no longer want to play with Arenas" and "he might very well forfeit the remaining $80 million his massive contract."

Fast forward to Jan. 14, Wilbon writes:

"We've gone too far now...We've made Gilbert Arenas Public Enemy No. 1, which is absurd.

" Arenas so evil that all the merchandise bearing his name and number has to be pulled from Verizon Center? And from the NBA Store in New York? And from, where you couldn't even customize a jersey and have Arenas's name on it? Is what he did so heinous his likeness has to be scrubbed off of every building in downtown Washington, like he's Al Capone?

"I like Gilbert Arenas, always have...overwhelmingly I've found him an enjoyable person, reasonable, engaging, always a good listener and usually a good spirit about him. I generally don't read blogs but often enjoyed his, and I'm not talking about the occasionally outrageous portions, but the 80 percent meat-and-potatoes stuff where Arenas would talk about basketball and the league itself, dissect players and their personalities and give us his take on professional basketball or his team or living in greater Washington.

"I've spent too many hours talking to Arenas over the last six years to think he's beyond reclamation, that he has to go into exile. There's much too much intelligence and goodwill, skill and legitimate personality to, as folks used to say, just throw the baby out with the bath water.

Posted by: Barno1 | March 25, 2010 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Good job, Barno! I think Wilbon doesn't pay attention to what he says or how hypocritical it is, so long as he gets to call someone a knucklehead. I was reading that column on Blatche with my mouth wide open. I mean, hasn't Wilbon heard about the three basic tenets to writing a column: 1. there are 2 sides to every story; 2. one must wait for all the facts before overreacting; 3. one must not be a dumb-ss. It would be the same as if someone wrote a scathing article on Gilbert based solely on the NY Post account. There was no nuance at all and no understanding that Blatche might have a point of view on the matter. Blatche has been great and is still 23. To attack him like that just because the coach did is absurd. At the very least, the facts are in dispute and a responsible columnist - like you, Dan - recognizes this. But the most hypocritical part of Wilbon's temper tantrum is that he has tied his future to Tony Kornheiser, easily the most childish, petulant, immature, full-of-himself, problematic figure in sports right now. What's good for the goose is also good for the gander, Mike.

Posted by: Urnesto | March 25, 2010 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Mike Wilbon, in the aftermath of Sean Taylor's death:

"There’s a ton of speculation about the details of his condition and the details of the incident, but this isn’t a blog and we’re not going to get into wild guessing and speculating here"

And.......Mike Wilbon, on how Sean Taylor had it coming:

"I know how I feel about Sean Taylor, and this incident isn't surprising in the least, not to me....Taylor grew up in a violent world, embraced it, claimed it, loved to run in it and refused to divorce himself from it."

Posted by: Barno1 | March 25, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse

You go Barno! Wilbon definitely does his best to look like an idiot.

Posted by: calhokie | March 25, 2010 5:14 PM | Report abuse

I couldn't agree more with you all on Wilbon. He is an egotistical jerk who is an opportunist. He finds it easy to sit in front of a camera or behind a microphone and critisize people. If he feels that strongly about an issue, be a man and meet face to face and express his feelings/problem with that person. My other problem with this is that any time there is a major problem with a Black athlete, they turn to Wilbon and/or Witlock to make a case for how bad these athletes are, as if they are the leading authorities on the issues. He is a total JERK!

Posted by: rjbobby | March 26, 2010 9:32 AM | Report abuse

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