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Andray Blatche for most improved player?

After the Wizards dropped to 25-55 with a 105-95 loss to the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday, Andray Blatche was asked what personal goals he had -- aside from wins -- with just two games remaining this season. Blatche was ready with an answer before the reporter finished the question.

"I would like to get ... un ungh," Blatche said with a grin and quickly shook his head, stopping himself before finishing his thought. "I don't know."


I couldn't do this before the season started. Okay, maybe I could. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

A triple double? I asked him, jokingly. Blatche smiled again and said, "Nah, but I did want that triple double."

The crowd of reporters then encouraged Blatche to say what was on his mind. Blatche slumped his shoulders and finally relented. "Something I can take from this season? Most improved player," Blatche said. "I feel I worked hard for it. A couple of guys have complemented me, as well. I hope it works out for me."

Blatche certainly has blossomed since the Wizards dealt away Antawn Jamison, Caron Butler and Brendan Haywood before the trade deadline. In 30 games since the all-star break, Blatche is averaging 22.1 points, 8.2 rebounds and 3.4 assists and has recorded 12 double-doubles over that span.

"I was a little nervous," Blatche said of his intial reaction to the trades, "but also, I knew it was an opportunity for me. I just tried to do my best."

Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld thought that Blatche would be able to respond well after the trades, but this level of production caught him off guard as well.

"I don't think anybody could've seen that coming. I think we all thought we would've been pleased if it was 16, 17 points a game," Grunfeld said recently. "Dray has done a very nice job, obviously, but when he's had a chance to get consistent minutes, he produced. He's stepped in and put up really nice numbers. His energy and consistency has been pretty impressive. I think we have to pleased with what he's done."

The Wizards had planned on pushing Blatche as the league's most improved player but they issued fliers promoting his candidacy on the same day he got into a spat with Coach Flip Saunders and sat the final three quarters of a loss to Charlotte on March 23. The campaign officially began and ended in a few hours.

But Blatche has continued to play at a high level, highlighted by his performance in Boston on Friday, when he had 31 points and 11 rebounds in a 106-96 win over the Celtics.

The biggest difference in Blatche from the beginning of the year to now? "I had to be a lot, lot, lot more patient," Blatche said. "I got to see what team's scouting plans are, being the main focus down there, I had never been in that kind of situation before in my career in the NBA. Now that I'm getting that kind of attention, I have to be patient with all of my moves and my decisions with the ball."

Blatche faces some stiff competition for the award, and may not make the top three of most ballots since his outburst came in the second half of the season. Houston's Aaron Brooks, Minnesota's Corey Brewer, Atlanta's Josh Smith, Milwaukee's Andrew Bogut, Memphis' Marc Gasol, Charlotte's Gerald Wallace, the Los Angeles Clippers' Chris Kaman and New Jersey's Brook Lopez have all gotten better this season - and they have been able to put up those numbers over the course of the full season.

Blatche is averaging 13.8 points and 6.2 rebounds, as he has improved in those statistical categories for the fifth consecutive season. Based on his production at the end of the season, Blatche is likely to take another leap next season and he already knows what areas he has to improve upon.

"I'm going to work on my jump shot more," Blatche said. "Gilbert [Arenas] is going to be back, he's going to bring a lot of attention to him. I'm going to have to hit some shots and improve my range."

After Blatche scored 24 points with 9 rebounds and 7 assists against the Hawks, Smith gave him a hug and provided some motivation for next season.

"Just saying keep playing, you're a great player, you're an all-star in this league," Blatche said. "Just giving me compliments. It builds my confidence, but at the same time I have to stay humble and remember my goals and take my time with everything."


By Michael Lee  |  April 11, 2010; 1:09 AM ET
 
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Comments

"I don't think anybody could've seen that coming. I think we all thought we would've been pleased if it was 16, 17 points a game," Grunfeld said

At least he admits he doesn't have a clue?

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | April 11, 2010 3:21 AM | Report abuse

the Hawks, Smith gave him a hug and provided some motivation for next season.

"Just saying keep playing, you're a great player, you're an all-star in this league," Blatche said. "Just giving me compliments. It builds my confidence, but at the same time I have to stay humble and remember my goals and take my time with everything."

Are you listening Flip?

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | April 11, 2010 3:23 AM | Report abuse

Blatche has been great since the trade. He's right on the money that he needs a superior scorer to attract attention away from him. He's also correct in wanting to work on his jumper. But the real challenge will be to keep him inside. At some point he'll want to drift farther out to lessen the physical contact -- most big guys do at some point -- and his real value to a team is closer in. Especially since McGee appears to have problems down low.

I don't know how you would pick an MIP from that group. Aaron Brooks has outperformed everybody's expectations, and he's one of the smaller guys in the league. The two who've had the biggest impact on the won-loss record are Bogut and Marc Gasol. Josh Smith has been formidable, but if I had to pick one, it would be Gerald Wallace.

Posted by: Samson151 | April 11, 2010 6:39 AM | Report abuse

Thing that impressed me most about the Wiz since the trade is that they've kept playing hard. Probably everybody here saw that losing streak coming, but the club seemed to maintain its balance. We've all seen teams that didn't. Last year, for instance.

The games I went to, all at home, I didn't see the fans getting on the club as hard as they do when things go really wrong in, say, Philly or NY. Maybe they could see the effort, too. When Alonzo Gee is your best performer in an actual NBA game, everybody has to lower expectations.

But the crowds at Verizon Center have always seemed very different to me in tone from what you read here. Bloggers are an upgrade from the folks who call in on the radio talk shows, but posters still tend toward the obsessive, 'immovable object' types. Sometimes it's as if we don't bother to enjoy the game because we're so concerned with pushing this agenda or that.

Sports arguments are fun. Or at least, they're supposed to be.

Posted by: Samson151 | April 11, 2010 6:53 AM | Report abuse

Can someone explain to me why a player like Gee, who was in the rotation and even starting here, would go to San Antonio instead where he doesn't get off the bench even in garbage time?

Posted by: shovetheplanet | April 11, 2010 8:44 AM | Report abuse

I always push my agenda SAMSON....... improvement. In that regard I have a failing grade of "f".

Posted by: glawrence007 | April 11, 2010 9:14 AM | Report abuse

I'm not sure why Flip didnt play AB and JM together much last night, given the success they had against the Cs frontline. Mcgee seems to clean up quite a bit off ABs misses and tips, maybe Saunders was trying something new.

Nick is ballin, but he shouldnt be playing PG in the 4th quarter of a tight game against a 50win team

Posted by: divi3 | April 11, 2010 9:18 AM | Report abuse

shovetheplanet:

I can't say for sure,

But I think it's because he'd rather practice every day against TD, Manu and Parker, with Pop watching, than get minutes for a terrible team. SA is probably like ivy league to pro ballers, you just want to get in there and soak up stuff.

Posted by: wpt4000 | April 11, 2010 9:23 AM | Report abuse

i though the spurs offered him slightly more guaranteed $$$

Posted by: divi3 | April 11, 2010 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Can someone explain to me why a player like Gee, who was in the rotation and even starting here, would go to San Antonio instead where he doesn't get off the bench even in garbage time?

Posted by: shovetheplanet | April 11, 2010 8:44 AM | Report abuse

Because Ernie forgot to sign him and Kalo said we don't need any inexpensice, athletic, defensive minded players on this team.

Posted by: Utilityman1 | April 11, 2010 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Didn't SA quasi guarantee him a contract for next season also?

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | April 11, 2010 10:18 AM | Report abuse

I am really surprised by the support here for Blatche for most improved. With all of his detractors, I would have thought he would have gotten less consideration.

I wonder how that support plays with or are they some of the same folks that say he should be traded for picks/cap space or whatever.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | April 11, 2010 10:23 AM | Report abuse

Pencil me in for Aaron Brooks i watched the Rockets/Celtics game about a week ago(Rockets won in ot in Beantown) and Brooks took over that game just wore Rondo's behind out i mean just used & abused him scoring at will, listen the "serial skirt chaser"(AB) has improved but he still disappears in the 4th qtr.and continues to make silly turnovers at crucial junctures in the game but i will say this if Blatche stop's listening to opposing players compliments he will get better, truthfully? his upside is tremendous. The Wiz should think about Chris Bosh a frontline of Bosh, Blatche, and McGee along with Livingston,and Arenas................Whoa! that would sell some season tickets.

Posted by: dargregmag | April 11, 2010 10:50 AM | Report abuse

"a frontline of Bosh, Blatche, and McGee along with Livingston,and Arenas................Whoa! that would sell some season tickets"

And play great defense?

Posted by: nmik | April 11, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

I think judging by EG's comments, it makes it sound like the rumored proposal of Blatche for Augustine may have been true but the Bobcats turned it down. If thats true the EG is one lucks SOB

Posted by: dlts2041 | April 11, 2010 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Lee is still a fool. Nearly every guy he had on the list has already been big time players in this league. Kaman, Bogut, Smith, Wallace, and these guys? Is he crazy? Tney were already well respected, DPOY canidates, or have put up big numbers

Posted by: dlts2041 | April 11, 2010 1:38 PM | Report abuse

I 150% disagree with anyone who wants Bosh. Have you guys seen him play? He's nothing but a better version of Jamison. He's the biggest black hole in the league. We dont want anymore of that kinda play. Plus he wants to be the #1 guy and if he came here then he would jack up shots even more. Man I swear I hope we dont make a play for him.

Plus, he plays the same spot as Dray and Id rather go with Dray because I know he will pass. I just dont think Bosh is a winner. Honestly, I dont really trust any of the FA big men. I think they all are more stat guys and Im not sure Amare would beast in a halfcourt Offense like ours, plus him & Boozer have serious injury concerns.

The only guy I would really even look at is Boozer and I still wouldnt pay him alot. Trust me though, Ive watched a ton of Bosh and he's a numbers guy just like AJ. I want passers & team guys

Posted by: dlts2041 | April 11, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

George Hill or Noah are more likely to win than most of the guys Lee listed. I don't see Blatche having a shot when you take into account the triple double ugliness. And I'm surprised no one has ripped AB for talking about working on his jump shot instead of his body this offseason. Seems like at least half the people on this site hate jump shooting PFs.

Posted by: djnnnou | April 11, 2010 2:50 PM | Report abuse

And kudos to Mcgee for hitting that free throw after getting crushed by Pachulia.

Posted by: djnnnou | April 11, 2010 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Didn't SA quasi guarantee him a contract for next season also?

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD

I believe that is correct.....but someone wrote on here yesterday that the Spurs have sent Gee back to the D League.

All I know is, Ernie - or whoever is making the decisions - needs to sign Shaun Livingston. Don't let another one get away.

Posted by: Lisa_R | April 11, 2010 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Gee is playing in the D league playoffs for the Austin Toros.

Posted by: VBFan | April 11, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse

"...judging by EG's comments, it makes it sound like the rumored proposal of Blatche for Augustine may have been true but the Bobcats turned it down."Posted by: dlts2041

Did he mention DJ? I didn't see it.

Posted by: Samson151 | April 11, 2010 5:47 PM | Report abuse

IF GEE was all that why wasn't he even drafted, in no round in the draft. he wasn't hit when he was here and he ain't hit in sa. you can find all kinds of gees in the dleague. he was only starting because flip is an a&& hole, and only like certain players. ERNIE do no talent, you can school gee and he will get better but only in sa.

Posted by: maejude | April 11, 2010 6:06 PM | Report abuse

samson, I meant more about him being so shocked at the way Blatche is playing. He sounded like he is genuinely shocked & amazed. I could be wrong though. Either way, Im just happy he stayed

Posted by: dlts2041 | April 11, 2010 6:30 PM | Report abuse

Given our backcourt woes at the time, it wasnt shocking to hear EG tried to trade AB for DJ. After the deadline, I remember AB saying he was so relieved to be staying DC and that he thought he was being moved.

Imagine if AB was ballin like this in Charlotte and we had a 5'11" pg in his place?

ridiculous

Posted by: divi3 | April 11, 2010 7:02 PM | Report abuse

and the only difference in NYs game is that flip is leaving him on the floor. He still misses assignments at times, or gets caught admiring his own shot- but he's not getting immediately yanked for it and we're seeing the results.

It looks like Flip's relationship with AB and NY is changing/improving. I dont know what's shown on tv, but last night he was coaching AB more directly than I've seen before. Also barking instructions to NY rather than just benching him.

Perhaps we're past the "tear'em down" stage and now he's building them up...

Posted by: divi3 | April 11, 2010 7:07 PM | Report abuse

Blatche has no shot of winning MIP. There are too many guys who showed improvement over the entire course of the season for a guy who came on late at the same time his team was circling the drain to get any serious consideration.

Of the guys on that list, Brooks has the best chance because he made the most noticeable jump in statistical output, which is what usually gets rewarded in MIP voting (as opposed to a quality improvement in a player's game), even though that's usually more a result of increased PT more than anything else.

Posted by: kalo_rama | April 11, 2010 7:36 PM | Report abuse

"Lee is still a fool. Nearly every guy he had on the list has already been big time players in this league. "

So? That shouldn't preclude a player from MIP consideration. If anything, an argument could be made that it's a tougher and more impressive leap to go from good to very good/great than it is to go from mediocre to pretty good, which are the kind of players that usually get the award.

And I don't recall Marc Gasol, Brewer, Blatche,or Brooks being "big time" players before. Good players? Sure. But "big time"? Not really.

Posted by: kalo_rama | April 11, 2010 7:42 PM | Report abuse

So basically we're just playing the game of someone suggesting a trade and you saying "No." So it's not really a debate at this point, just a test to see how deep in the tank you are for AB.....hope you have a snorkel. =)

Posted by: ts35 | April 10, 2010 6:45 PM

actually I said I wouldnt want CP3 if it costs $100mill or whatever. It's fun to say "would you trade CP3 for AB"...but what does that really mean? CP3 is guaranteed $50mill, add that to Gil's $80mill and where are we? With $130mill into the same position? Doesnt seem like a smart move does it?

Posted by: divi3 | April 11, 2010 8:12 PM | Report abuse

Gerald Wallace for league's most improved player??? This just shows yet again how big of an idiot Michael Lee is. Seriously Lee, you are a moron. I hope you know this.

Posted by: Barno1 | April 11, 2010 8:15 PM | Report abuse

"Gerald Wallace for league's most improved player??? This just shows yet again how big of an idiot Michael Lee is."

It is a stretch, because he's had years where he's scored more. But the guy is averaging 41 minutes and has become a legit 3 point threat, at 37%. He's also averaging double digits in rebounds. But mostly, it's the team as a whole that is playing so much better, and Wallace is clearly coming into his own.

Posted by: Samson151 | April 11, 2010 10:27 PM | Report abuse

Gerald Wallace for league's most improved player??? This just shows yet again how big of an idiot Michael Lee is. Seriously Lee, you are a moron. I hope you know this.

Posted by: Barno1 | April 11, 2010 8:15 PM


Elaborate please?

Posted by: zxhoya | April 11, 2010 10:27 PM | Report abuse

"It is a stretch, because he's had years where he's scored more. But the guy is averaging 41 minutes and has become a legit 3 point threat, at 37%. He's also averaging double digits in rebounds. But mostly, it's the team as a whole that is playing so much better, and Wallace is clearly coming into his own."

That's what I meant about it being more impressive when an already very good player takes that next jump. He's always been good, but for a a 6' 7" SF in his 9th season to make the rebounding jump that he has is pretty incredible. At one point he was averaging 12 rpg. (Of course, part of the reason he's rebounding so much is that the Bobcats' bigs are all fairly weak on the boards.)

Posted by: kalo_rama | April 11, 2010 10:33 PM | Report abuse

Did trading Okafor for Chandler produce more available rebounds for Wallace. I don't think Wallace is most improved. He was already a very good player. I give it to Blatche.

Posted by: G-Man11 | April 12, 2010 8:38 AM | Report abuse

I doubt AB will win it this year given he came on so late, but that shouldnt preclude him from winning next year if he's still putting up numbers that amount to basically doubling previous production.

Bogut is an interesting case, everyone agrees he played better this year but statistically he wasnt much better than 2yrs ago.

Gasol really hasnt improved that much, numbers wise.

Agree that Wallace had already arrived.

Brooks probably gets it....but I voted AB in this poll of course

Posted by: divi3 | April 12, 2010 9:24 AM | Report abuse

Haywood clearly outplays Dampier and Dallas knows it Washington.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | April 10, 2010 12:30 AM

8mins, 0-2, 1reb. 1blk, 0pts in Mavs last game. Dampier played 28mins, and they used Najara at backup C. Wonder if something is going on...

Posted by: divi3 | April 12, 2010 9:54 AM | Report abuse

"Did trading Okafor for Chandler produce more available rebounds for Wallace."

Even if it did, so what? It was still incumbent on Wallace to go get them, usually by outfighting/outhustling bigger, stronger guys to do so.

Posted by: kalo_rama | April 12, 2010 10:28 AM | Report abuse

divi3, I think Haywood twisted his ankle early in that game, that's why he played so few minutes. They said he would have been available late in the game but the game wasn't close so it wouldn't have made sense to put him back in. By the way, I think DSteve started that game and played 26 minutes, go figure.

Posted by: shovetheplanet | April 12, 2010 10:37 AM | Report abuse

I voted for Gerald Wallace. He made the jump from being a good to an all-star player. I remember there was a discussion more than a year ago about Butler-Wallace swap and I was one (of a very few) who was in favor of that. He is more versatile and a better all around player than Caron.

Posted by: Dave381 | April 12, 2010 10:47 AM | Report abuse

actually I said I wouldnt want CP3 if it costs $100mill or whatever. It's fun to say "would you trade CP3 for AB"...but what does that really mean? CP3 is guaranteed $50mill, add that to Gil's $80mill and where are we? With $130mill into the same position? Doesnt seem like a smart move does it?

Posted by: divi3

Depends on what other moves they are able to make. But my ultimate point was that you keep asking for someone to suggest trades involving AB or JM that they think make the Wiz better, but what you really mean is, suggest one that you think make the Wiz better, which is pointless. Because all anybody is doing at that point is trying to match up to your subjective standards (everyone's are subjective) of AB's value and what constitutes good basketball. So suggest some of your own or stop asking =)

Posted by: ts35 | April 12, 2010 11:04 AM | Report abuse

I voted for Gerald Wallace. He made the jump from being a good to an all-star player. I remember there was a discussion more than a year ago about Butler-Wallace swap and I was one (of a very few) who was in favor of that. He is more versatile and a better all around player than Caron.

Posted by: Dave381

That's why I gave it to Blatche. The difference is that he went from being an inconsistent backup to an All-star caliber player.

Posted by: G-Man11 | April 12, 2010 11:08 AM | Report abuse

And the award for "post of the day" goes to ts35.

Posted by: kalo_rama | April 12, 2010 11:09 AM | Report abuse

"The difference is that he went from being an inconsistent backup to an All-star caliber player. "

He went from being an inconsistent backup to a guy who got unlimited PT and shots on a terrible team and was thus able to put up impressive looking numbers. If he can duplicate similar production on a competitive team with some actual depth and other quality players around him, then he'll be an All-Star caliber player. Right now he's a 7-foot version of Monta Ellis.

Posted by: kalo_rama | April 12, 2010 11:14 AM | Report abuse

Depends on what other moves they are able to make. But my ultimate point was that you keep asking for someone to suggest trades involving AB or JM that they think make the Wiz better, but what you really mean is, suggest one that you think make the Wiz better, which is pointless. Because all anybody is doing at that point is trying to match up to your subjective standards (everyone's are subjective) of AB's value and what constitutes good basketball. So suggest some of your own or stop asking =)

Posted by: ts35 | April 12, 2010 11:04 AM

i'm not the one saying there's a trade out there that makes sense, which is why I'm saying dont trade him.

The larger point is there's probably a divide between fans who think we have the makings of something and those who think we'd be just as wise to blow the remnants from the previous blowup

Appreciate that you actually put forth scenarios for the sake of discussion, unlike kal who is unable to do so.

Posted by: divi3 | April 12, 2010 11:22 AM | Report abuse

"divi3, I think Haywood twisted his ankle early in that game, that's why he played so few minutes."

gotcha, they should put that in recap. seemed very odd he barely played even with matrix sidelined.

mavs look dangerous!

Posted by: divi3 | April 12, 2010 11:23 AM | Report abuse

"That's why I gave it to Blatche. The difference is that he went from being an inconsistent backup to an All-star caliber player.
Posted by: G-Man11 | April 12, 2010 11:08 AM | Report abuse

G-Man11 - I'm a HUGE fan of Blatche but all-star he is not (yet).

Posted by: Dave381 | April 12, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Blatche is likely to take another leap next season and he already knows what areas he has to improve upon.

"I'm going to work on my jump shot more," Blatche said

----------

To borrow from Steve Buckhantz "No! Not possible! Not possible!"

I'm really hoping he was sort of joking around (possible) or maybe misspoke and meant "jump hook" or "left hand" or "upper body"

If AB continues to play at this level next season, he will likely still be considered for the award next season. As good as he has been, it is still only over part of a season. And the fact that his team is at the bottom of the standings doesn't help either. He is definitely worthy of consideration though, no question.

One other thing I would like to note in his improvement....he seems to be paying more attention to at least saying the right things and trying to do the right things, which is a very good thing. One of the biggest complaints made about AB (I know I have made it) is that he doesn't seem to 'get it'. The fact that he was reluctant to come right out and say he wanted to get an individual award I think says that, either on his own, or through the team, or both, he's starting to get it or at least the superficial you-can't-act-that-way part of it. As well as he has played, he has also gotten a lot of negative feedback for blowing off Flip, the triple-double thing, etc, etc, and they seem to have ultimately made a positive impact.

Hopefully an offseason of people in his ear telling him how great he is won't undo that positive effect.

Posted by: ts35 | April 12, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

"And I'm surprised no one has ripped AB for talking about working on his jump shot instead of his body this offseason. Seems like at least half the people on this site hate jump shooting PFs."

There's nothing wrong with jumpshooting PFs, per se. It's just that (A) jumpshooting PFs rarely become star/centerpiece players on really good teams (Nowitzki being the exception that proves the rule), which flies in the face of the delusion many have about what Blatche is/will be for this team (B) the same people who regularly ride Blatche's strap also routinely ripped Jamison for being a jumpshooting PF, indicating a high level of hypocrisy.

Blatche is what he is. If jumpshooting is the core of his game then there's no reason for him not to maximize his ability there. But there should be no illusions about what the ceiling is for a player of that type.

Posted by: kalo_rama | April 12, 2010 11:26 AM | Report abuse

What are you guys even talking about? Just because you are good already, doesnt mean that you cant improve? Everyone improves but you cant be most improved just because your stats went up some. Thats just a normal progression. Wallace averaged nearly 17 & 8 last year. In 05 he averaged 15, 7.5, with like 2blks and 2 stls. Have you guys ever watched him before? He's been a stat stuffer. Now he's just playing 41mpg and is having a normal progression.

Gasol averaged 12 & 7.5 last year. His numbers havent jumped that much. Its just a normal progression. Then Brewer? He's not even that good. He's only getting like 13 & 4 on horrible shooting percentages. He plays good D but he's nothing special. Most still have him labeled as a bust. He is definitely not good enough to win that award. Then he's got Smith, Bogut, Kaman, and Lopez?

Like I said, the only legit guy he has is Brooks and he will probably win but if you guys think that was a good list then you must dont watch much basketball. Its not in my nature to diss cats but its so obvious. People have been saying Wallace is a stud for years. People were saying that Gasol was a very good rookie, Kaman was an All Star type last year, everyone loved Lopez, Smith, and Brewer is just a solid player. Lee's list sucks bad

Posted by: dlts2041 | April 12, 2010 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Please. I put forth several scenarios. What I didn't do is exactly what ts35 talked about: taking your dangling bait. I've never been one to make specific player-for-player trade suggestions, so the notion that I should somehow be required to do so just to appease you is profoundly silly on your part, esp. since (as ts35 so adroitly pointed out) you aren't really interested in them in the first place, because you've already marked Blatche down as "UNTOUCHABLE."

Posted by: kalo_rama | April 12, 2010 11:31 AM | Report abuse

The guy I would probably give it to is Noah. Everyone had him as a #1 overall pick but he stayed that extra year and his stock dropped alot as he had a ton of flaws. Then at 1st in the league he looked like crap and a 3rd string Center. Now he hustles more than anyone, has no fear, and put up monster numbers before the injury. Its probably between him & Brooks. Brooks had it early but Noah is taking it late.

Dray is a beast and is the true definiton of most improved but he's not going to win it on a bad team against guys who have done it the whole year. Next year if he does it the whole year then they will count it and he will most likely win it

Posted by: dlts2041 | April 12, 2010 11:32 AM | Report abuse

you put forth no scenarios other than platitudes about trading for "young talent to build around" and some such other nothing speak. I wasnt baiting you at all, just expecting you to put your money where your mouth is considering you have no qualms about ripping suggestions others make.

Posted by: divi3 | April 12, 2010 11:35 AM | Report abuse

He went from being an inconsistent backup to a guy who got unlimited PT and shots on a terrible team and was thus able to put up impressive looking numbers. If he can duplicate similar production on a competitive team with some actual depth and other quality players around him, then he'll be an All-Star caliber player. Right now he's a 7-foot version of Monta Ellis.

Posted by: kalo_rama

so what? Are you saying Blatche didn't improve? The team has been competive with him as the lynchpin despite surrounding him with sub-standard teammates. Sure his stats could be inflated, but he is shooting a decent clip as well as showing playmaking ability. In other words, he is not a blackhole. Other teams went to doubling him and focusing on him. Once he gets used to playing against the double team and turning his mid-range jumper into a "layup" like Webber did he will improve even more.

In case you haven't noticed, his abilities has made his teammates around him better, not vice versa. It hasn't amounted to many wins because of the talent/experience level on the team but opposing teams and players are taking notice. Josh Smith and Garnett are two who have noticed even if you haven't.

Posted by: G-Man11 | April 12, 2010 11:35 AM | Report abuse

But there should be no illusions about what the ceiling is for a player of that type.

Posted by: kalo_rama | April 12, 2010 11:26 AM

According to you that ceiling is Dirk.

Posted by: divi3 | April 12, 2010 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Again, the crap flows from the source.

I put forth multiple scenarios under which the Wizards could trade Blatche for value. What I didn't do was put forth specific trade suggestions. You can do the semantics tap dance all you like, but that facts are what the facts are.

Posted by: kalo_rama | April 12, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

"so what? Are you saying Blatche didn't improve? "

Do the words "Blatche didn't improve" appear anywhere in my post? No? Then there's your answer.

"According to you that ceiling is Dirk."

Now you're just making a fool of yourself.

Posted by: kalo_rama | April 12, 2010 11:40 AM | Report abuse

ok, i agree with you. I'm all for moving AB in exchange for "talented young players we can build around but dont cost much"

Players that are currently in the league, but not worth mentioning apparently.

Posted by: divi3 | April 12, 2010 11:40 AM | Report abuse

"I'm all for moving AB in exchange for "talented young players we can build around but dont cost much"

That's nice for you. But since the specific scenario I mentioned dealt with the Wiz possibly using their cap space position to move Blatche's smallish contract for an established players in a deal where's they'd have the option to take back more salary, it has nothing to do with anything I said.

But that's par for the course, as most of the things you post in (*amen*) "response" to me have nothing to do with anything I actually said.

Posted by: kalo_rama | April 12, 2010 11:44 AM | Report abuse

But there should be no illusions about what the ceiling is for a player of that type.

Posted by: kalo_rama | April 12, 2010 11:26 AM

According to you that ceiling is Dirk.

Posted by: divi3

Which is fine, except even Dirk realizes that his style is harder to sustain in the playoffs. AB has a very nice jump shot, and he could refine it and even develop consistent 3 point range....which would make him Dirk or Rashard Lewis or a number of other fine PFs. The problem I have with it is that he clearly has more skills. He has a decent low-post game already, and has the balance and coordination to be better there. Being better in the low-post means double teams, which would accentuate one of his other good skills, his passing.

So I know it was just an off-the-cuff comment and it really doesn't mean that he's not going to work on all of his skills in the offseason, but if we're having a discussion on what it best serves AB and the team for him to work on, 'jump shot' is not the first thing that comes to mind.

Posted by: ts35 | April 12, 2010 11:52 AM | Report abuse

I'd like to think Dray didnt want to say "get in better shape" as his offseason goal but realizes that's priority #1. He's clearly gassed by late 4th quarter, whereas it's been almost commonplace for him to drop 10-12pts in the 1st

Posted by: divi3 | April 12, 2010 11:53 AM | Report abuse

I want to know what G. Wallace has done so much greater than his past? If I look at his career, he has been on a pretty consistent level for a few years now. If you want to say he should get most improved based on his rebounding going up 2 a game, so be it. That is not even worth me debating that crap.

The only thing hurting Blatche as the choice is it started after the trades, which gave him more playing time, which meant his improvement wasn't season long. In that case, it is still not Wallace.

Posted by: G-Man11 | April 12, 2010 11:54 AM | Report abuse

oh i agree, the last thing i want to see Dray doing is trying to increase his range. I'm with you 100% on him operating in the post with that dizzying array of travel-ish moves that so often result in layups.

Posted by: divi3 | April 12, 2010 11:58 AM | Report abuse

yeah, that scared me when Dray said that also. Its a 50/50 thing. Just this past week I was saying how beast could Dray be if he could stretch the floor to the 3pt line? He could open the floor like AJ but he could still operate in the post and put the ball on the floor when guys push out hard to him. The problem is that we dont trust Dray enough to still try to beast in the post or go strong to the hoop.

If he was smart then it would be a great move but if he's not smart enough then it will make him a softer guy who hurts us by not being in the post. The good thing is that we have Flip who will get on him if he's not staying down low enough. The bad thing is that I was hoping Dray would talk about hitting the weight room and trying to add more explosion to his game rather than adding 3pt range. Lets hope he does both.

Posted by: dlts2041 | April 12, 2010 12:08 PM | Report abuse

admitting he's a spindly armed doughboy who gets winded easily probably is not high on his list of things to say. I think it's safe to assume he knows he needs to get in better shape and everyone in management is telling him the same.

Posted by: divi3 | April 12, 2010 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Blatche has enough range now. He doesn't need to be Rasheed Wallace. His bread and butter should be mid-range on down, facing or posting.

Posted by: G-Man11 | April 12, 2010 12:14 PM | Report abuse

He has enough range but guys like Rip were great mid range shooters who started to go further out. We have to remember that the difference between Dray & Sheed are handles and passing ability. Meaning, even if he did pick & pop to the 3 some, I could still see Dray taking off quick with it or pumping and going quick with the D running at him and taking it to the hoop or dishing under neath for the layup.

He has that type of game and loves pump fakes or hesitations. That would make the D scramble. I could see it working out but I dont want him to live by it and I dont want him to pick up alot of charges that way. The other thing I also would love to see him do is work on finishing with the left hand. He gets alot of shots on the left side of the basket but always finished with the right or tries to reverse it. If he gets that left hand down then he can finish way better and draw more fouls instead of getting blocked like he does now at times.

Adding explosion would also help that. We will know in October how good Dray and this season can be. I will be so dissapointed if he comes back physically looking the same. The funny thing is that he will probably still be good like AI and others just because he has that much talent but he has to realize that its still not your max if you dont workout right. Just because you get 20 & 8 doesnt that you dont need to change. It means that if you workout then you might have got 25 & 10. Hopefully he gets that. Honestly, I would love to see Gil, Dray, and McGee all go to Grover for like the last 3 or 4 months before the season and come back like beast but I doubt that happeneds.

Posted by: dlts2041 | April 12, 2010 12:22 PM | Report abuse

Not that anyone's asking, but here's my list of what Dray should work on

1. Strength and Conditioning
2. Finishing through contact
3. Finishing with his left
4. Developing or refining a post move of his choice (though jump hook has always been a fave of mine for tall guys. Low effort, hard to stop, leads to good counter-moves, like his up and under. It also plays well off of his propensity to want to spin to the hoop. The fake-spin-show-the-ball-bring-it-back-for-the-jump-hook move is a great move still. See Olajuwon, Hakeem)

5. Defense
6. Big Man Fundamentals (don't bring the ball down below your shoulders on rebounds, etc)
7. Passing out of the double-team. This can go down this low because he has good passing skills already.

Posted by: ts35 | April 12, 2010 12:42 PM | Report abuse

he's gotta replace that fall away J in the paint with something else. He hits it just enough, but really that is a TOUGH shot and he usually comes up short on it as the game progresses.

Posted by: divi3 | April 12, 2010 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Forgot a big one, which belongs with #6, but may move that up to #2 or #3.....boxing out. Drives me crazy when big men don't box out and guys like Brandon Bass, Chuck Hayes, Gerald Wallace run around the big guys for boards.

Posted by: ts35 | April 12, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

ts35, I think that has less to do with boxing out and more to do with energy, hustle, and will. Half the time he's just not even trying anymore. I always say that I give him a pass now because I think he could be dead tired from all the extra minutes, role, double teams, our crazy sked, and the fact that he's not in top shape. I mean, he was pulling down a ton of boards right after the trade and then just went in the tank. That makes me think that alot of it is just his energy.

Alot of times now it looks like 9 guys on the floor are running & playing hard while Dray is walking and playing very lax. He's not boxing out but he was at 1st. Thats why I think its more of this. Next year I will cut him no break though as he should be playing much harder

Posted by: dlts2041 | April 12, 2010 2:08 PM | Report abuse

I'm sure that's partly true dlts2041, I'm sure it's physical fatigue, I'm sure it's mental fatigue, but even when he snags a ton of boards, AB's not big on boxing out. It's just whether he has the energy to chase down boards.

Boxing out should be an ingrained habit, something that all basketball players do without thinking about it, but it's not the case with AB, NY, or about 50% of the NBA.

Posted by: ts35 | April 12, 2010 3:07 PM | Report abuse

I also want to see him play smarter as far as his matchup goes. Sometimes he has a big slow center outside and he bails him out with a J instead of going by him. Then he may have a small man on him and tries to take him off the dribble instead of just backing him down. Then the few times he does back the guy down, he fades away instead of turning towards the basket or going straight up. Thats why he doesnt get to the line.

The other problem I have is that he always waits or goes slow. Thats one thing I wish he would learn from AJ. Sometimes you have to catch the D off guard by going fast with it as soon as you get it. You dont always have to catch, wait, and then slowly start backing the guy down. Sometimes just face up and go quick or immediatly back the guy down with speed & power in a fast way, not slowly. He'll learn

Posted by: dlts2041 | April 12, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse

"[Blatche] seems to be paying more attention to at least saying the right things and trying to do the right things, which is a very good thing. One of the biggest complaints made about AB (I know I have made it) is that he doesn't seem to 'get it'. The fact that he was reluctant to come right out and say he wanted to get an individual award I think says that, either on his own, or through the team, or both, he's starting to get it or at least the superficial you-can't-act-that-way part of it. As well as he has played, he has also gotten a lot of negative feedback for blowing off Flip, the triple-double thing, etc, etc, and they seem to have ultimately made a positive impact."

I confess I'm one of those who thought he had an attitude problem a week before Flip sat him. For me, it started with the talk about a salary increase. So I was glad when it blew up a little, despite some of the opposition on this blog. I guess I don't see any signs that Flip's coaching style is inducing low self-esteem in our young players. If they'd spent more time in college, they'd probably have been accustomed to it. There are more in-your-face types in the college ranks.

Posted by: Samson151 | April 12, 2010 3:21 PM | Report abuse

dlts, i guess i should stop posting cause you're saying everything I think for me.

Was just about to say AB needs a hint of AJ's unconsciousness, many of the TOs (and assists) come on plays where he needlessly waits.

Posted by: divi3 | April 12, 2010 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Anyone who carries on like he did when he couldn't get his triple-double deserves no consideration for most improved anything.

Freaking ass-clown.

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | April 13, 2010 12:50 AM | Report abuse

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