Andray Blatche trying to get fit, and in the low post
You may have noticed that Andray Blatche showed up for training camp a little thicker. Blatche made focusing on his body a primary concern entering this offseason, but his plans were derailed by a broken right foot that kept him from maintaining the proper conditioning for the two months that he was restricted by a protective boot.
He was mostly limited to working in the pool and later the stationary bike. He started running on an elliptical machine near the end of August, but he is a bit pudgy, and far being in the shape that he wants -- or needs -- to be for the upcoming season. "Definitely it was tough to watch what you eat," Blatche admitted.
Blatche said he passed Coach Flip Saunders's conditioning test earlier this week with "three seconds to spare" but he has some more work to do. In order to get back on track, Blatche has taken to doing some added running drills after practice. He has ended practice by working out with assistant Gene Banks, running backward with a basketball above his head. He had to run two sets of eight baseline sprints after Friday's brief practice concluded and is expected to make it four sets on Saturday. "I've got to get in better shape," Blatche said. "As the season goes on, I want to get into better shape and continue to get stronger."
The Wizards will need Blatche to raise his conditioning and endurance -- and in a hurry, with him serving as the best, or perhaps only, threat in the low post. After the Wizards lost to Milwaukee on Thursday, Saunders said he needed more high percentage shots closer to the basket. He also asked Blatche to use his "big butt" inside.
"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," Saunders said. "Dray's a low-post scorer. He's about a good a low-post scorer as there is if you look at fours around the league. We've just got to get his big butt down there more often and not have him keep on popping out there all the time because that's where he's most effective down there on the block."
If you recall, Blatche was suspended for one game last season when Blatche had a negative reaction during a timeout to requests from the coaching staff to get in the paint more. Blatche said back then that his teammates weren't looking to get him the ball inside. At the time, Blatche was a reserve.
He has had a much more expanded role since the trades of Antawn Jamison, Caron Butler and Brendan Haywood, but it seems that Saunders is unwilling to accept Blatche settling on being a jump shooter. He took eight of his 17 shots from beyond 15 feet, including three missed three pointers, on Thursday.
"I can work on it," Blatche said. "I don't know, that's tough. I don't want to get into all that. It's tough for me to stay on the block when everyone is setting a lot of picks. I'm just going through the flow of the game. A lot of guys are sagging off, and I'm just reading the defense, but if he wants me to get on the block more, I don't have a problem. That's where I want to be."
And, now he's working on making sure that he is in the best shape when he gets there.
Josh Howard blogging
Josh Howard has started a blog on his official website, www.joshhoward.com. And while he has yet to play, Howard certainly has a lot to say about his rehabilitation from his left knee surgery, the Wizards, leadership, John Wall and giving back. Howard mentions that he recently donated money to his alma mater, Wake Forest, to create the Josh Howard Scholarship. He left out the fact that he donated $100,000 to the cause. It is a very lengthy post, but well worth the full read. Howard even admits, "As you can tell I can be pretty talkative but I'm happy to give you guys a glimpse into my world."
Gilbert Arenas was held out of practice on Friday after sustaining a mild groin strain in the preseason loss to Milwaukee. Saunders said that Arenas is "very doubtful" for Sunday's game in New York...The team had an event for season ticket holders at Six Flags...ESPN college basketball analyst and former NBA player Jay Williams said in tweet on Friday that No. 1 overall pick John Wall and his team may be firing Dan Fegan as their representation. I spoke with a person close to Wall who told me vehemently on Friday that the information was "not true."...Also, former Wizard Javaris Crittenton's comeback attempt with the Charlotte Bobcats came to an end when he was waived on Friday. Crittenton, the other half in the infamous gun incident with Arenas, had scored 13 points on 4 of 17 shooting in four exhibition games. "Any other year, you remember some of the third point guards we have, he would have made our team," Charlotte Coach Larry Brown said. "He did what I asked of him. He's got strength, quickness. He just needs to be more of a point guard."
| October 15, 2010; 11:14 PM ET
Categories: Andray Blatche, Josh Howard
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