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Andray Blatche focused on inside play


Wizards assistant Gene Banks leaned in and put all of his weight on Andray Blatche. He pushed him, shoved him and roughed him up every time Blatche received the ball in the low post. Blatche had to accept the pounding and still get his shot off. He finally got frustrated, dropped his shoulder, sent Banks stumbling back and dunked.

At the end of practice on Monday, the Wizards players had to work on individual skills, so the team's power forwards, Blatche and Yi Jianlian, had to work on scoring in the low block. The Wizards are shooting just 43.5 percent from the floor through the first two games and that's largely because they haven't taken many high percentage shots. They have lived, or rather died, by the jump shot.

Blatche is probably the Wizards' best hope for low-post scoring, with his array of moves inside. But he has repeatedly settled for long jumpers this season, either because of apathy, poor conditioning as he recovers from his foot injury, or both. He has taken 27 shots this season and 19 have come from 11 feet and beyond. He has also attempted just two free throws.

The 6-foot-11 Blatche has a decent jumper, but for a team with limited options inside in half-court sets, the Wizards really need him get his "big butt down there," as Coach Flip Saunders said. In the season opener against Orlando, Blatche went 2 for 9 from the field and none of his shot attempts were closer than 11 feet. He made a 19-foot jumper and an 18-foot jumper, but missed from 11 feet, 16 feet (twice), 18 feet (twice), 20 feet and 25 feet.

His shooting improved against the Atlanta Hawks, but only after he decided to take a variety of shots. Blatche was 9 of 19, but only after making the adjustment in the second half, when he made seven of his 12 attempts. It probably wasn't a coincidence that five of those made baskets were from 10 feet in. "More effort," Blatche said, when trying to explain the difference in his play. "I was just more comfortable, got more confident and I'm trying to take my time."

This season, Blatche is 5 of 20 (25 percent) from 11 feet and beyond and 6 of 8 (75 percent) from 10 feet and closer. Where do you think he should shoot?

Blatche is starting to figure out how important it is for him take that punishment inside. Even when he had his breakout performance in the final 32 games of last season, Blatche didn't exactly live at the foul line. He only attempted seven or more free throws nine times.

But he realizes that two attempts in two games is not getting it done. "Get to the hole, get some contact and get some fouls. It's been two games and I believe I only shot two free throws. That's shows that I'm not being aggressive and that's what I need to do," Blatche said. Monday "at practice, I was very aggressive, trying to take it to the hole and that's what I'm going to try to do" against Philadelphia.

By Michael Lee  | November 2, 2010; 1:53 PM ET
Categories:  Andray Blatche  
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Comments


I'm glad to hear that at least Blatche agrees with the notion that he needs to give the Wizards more interior presence. That said, talk is cheap. It's bad when your POWER forward has attempted just as many threes as he has free throws.

Posted by: and_1 | November 2, 2010 2:08 PM | Report abuse

that clip sure doesnt help the "you dont need a big guy to teach bigs" school of thought

Posted by: divi3 | November 2, 2010 2:14 PM | Report abuse

He hasn't been fighting for good post position, and he's not quick enough to take anybody off the dribble right now. It seems like a case of heart more than conditioning to me.

Posted by: djnnnou | November 2, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

We don't have the luxury of having a dwight howard to anchor the post so we can't have the luxury jumpshooting power forward like Rashard or Dirk.

Posted by: jefferu | November 2, 2010 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Blatch is a winded poor shooting 5-11 white guy guard trapped in a 7 foot body. Thats never going to change....ever. Get used to it...but hey, it gets him cash. Great gig for him.

Posted by: nowhine | November 2, 2010 2:37 PM | Report abuse

"that clip sure doesnt help the "you dont need a big guy to teach bigs" school of thought"Posted by: divi3

Explain.

Posted by: Samson151 | November 2, 2010 2:47 PM | Report abuse

from the look of that video, they need to practice harder

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | November 2, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

that clip sure doesnt help the "you dont need a big guy to teach bigs" school of thought

Posted by: divi3 | November 2, 2010 2:14 PM | Report abuse

I heard the Wizards are going to bring in Muggsy Bogues to help John Wall learn how to post up other point guards?

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | November 2, 2010 2:56 PM | Report abuse

I agree,

it's only one clip and we can't expect to see everything but that's the vid WaPo posted and you would like to see them take that drill more serious.

Posted by: gmac78 | November 2, 2010 2:59 PM | Report abuse

"that clip sure doesnt help the "you dont need a big guy to teach bigs" school of thought"Posted by: divi3

Explain.

Posted by: Samson151 | November 2, 2010 2:47 PM | Report abuse

What's to explain the guy guarding AB and YI is 6'7" and as soon as either one of them made a move to the basket he let them do whatever they wanted?

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | November 2, 2010 2:59 PM | Report abuse

A sorry contrast to the clip posted last week of Howard working with Hakeem. I suppose the skilled tutorials may be occurring elsewhere and this clip just happened to catch everyday repetitive work.

Posted by: midlevex_ | November 2, 2010 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Be nice if people who posted actually watched the play and understood it. In the Magic game Dray was double teamed when he got the ball early in the game, passed out it to the open shooter (Heinrich) who missed on each occasion. Now if he forced the shot, he would be a ball hog only concerned about himself; now that he passed out if it, he is too passive. Objectivity is obviously not important to people with a point to justify. I hope he gets the ball down low to start with and works within the system from there. The key is to get him the ball; i.e., Wall's job. Now with the 76's and Big Boy Samuel that should be interesting to see. Dray has had some of his best games against Philly and hopefully that will continue.

Posted by: h20law2000 | November 2, 2010 3:05 PM | Report abuse

"What's to explain the guy guarding AB and YI is 6'7" and as soon as either one of them made a move to the basket he let them do whatever they wanted?Posted by: bulletsfan78"

So how does that support the argument that you should hire a big man to coach big men?

Posted by: Samson151 | November 2, 2010 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Be nice if people who posted actually watched the play and understood it.

Be nice if people paid attention to what's actually being posted. Nobody is complaining about Andray passing the ball when he's double-teamed. The complaint is about his taking contested, bad shots and generally drifting farther and farther away from the basket as the game unfolds.

Even the even-keeled Phil Chenier was saying that Dray needed to take smarter shots and make more moves toward the basket when he's not double-teamed.

Btw, Big Boy Samuel plays for the Kings now.

Posted by: and_1 | November 2, 2010 3:17 PM | Report abuse

The sad thing is that this team is COMPLETELY dependent on Blatche's inside game if we want to harbor any chance of competing this year. Who's going to pick up the slack? Yi? Not based on the first two games.

Posted by: drischord | November 2, 2010 3:23 PM | Report abuse

@Posted by: h20law2000 ,

Now if he forced the shot, he would be a ball hog only concerned about himself; now that he passed out if it, he is too passive. Objectivity is obviously not important to people with a point to justify.

What are you talking about, who is critisizing whether he paases out or shoots? Seems to me some "admit" its just a minor vid, but an interior force is what we desperatly need so it would be nice to see them going hard at it.

Are you just one of those with contempt for every bloggers post that does not share your opionion?

And who is "big boy Samuel"? Hope you doun't mean Dalembert, that plays for the Sac. Kings now.

Posted by: gmac78 | November 2, 2010 3:25 PM | Report abuse

So how does that support the argument that you should hire a big man to coach big men?

Posted by: Samson151 | November 2, 2010 3:15 PM | Report abuse

I'll take a shot at this one.


If the players are constantly practicing against a 40+ yr old man who is 6 inches shorter than them and outweighed by a good 3 lbs, they may get accustomed to facing that type of defense, being that the team works out more than they play games vs. opposition. If they become accustomed to getting little or no resistance on the "pet moves" that they work on in practice, there's a strong possibility that they will be caught off guard by the young,quick,strong big men they may face from the opposition. It might help them to have a guy defending that could at least extend a hand in their face or something. A bigger human defending the bigs in practice may make them (yi and blatche) work harder on positioning and leverage and all the things they need to bang in the post with NBA bigs. Watch the video and see how hard Banks is working them. You get better by working against folks on your level or better. You can't get better as a post player by posting up old men shorter and smaller than you.

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | November 2, 2010 3:26 PM | Report abuse


“We’ve just been around each other for a while,” Garnett said. “Any time [Big Baby] needs something, I’ve always tried to be there. We push each other in practice. There’s no days off. It’s not no buddy-buddy. I’m trying to bust his ass like he’s trying to bust mine. That’s what you want. You want guys pushing each other.

I hope Seraphin and Booker are similarly going at each other and Blatche in practice.

http://www.bostonherald.com/blogs/sports/celtics/index.php/2010/11/01/kevin-garnett-showers-praise-on-celtics-young-big-men/

Posted by: and_1 | November 2, 2010 3:29 PM | Report abuse

"I'll take a shot at this one.
If the players are constantly practicing against a 40+ yr old man who is 6 inches shorter than them and outweighed by a good 3 lbs, they may get accustomed to facing that type of defense, being that the team works out more than they play games vs. opposition. If they become accustomed to getting little or no resistance on the "pet moves" that they work on in practice, there's a strong possibility that they will be caught off guard by the young,quick,strong big men they may face from the opposition. It might help them to have a guy defending that could at least extend a hand in their face or something. A bigger human defending the bigs in practice may make them (yi and blatche) work harder on positioning and leverage and all the things they need to bang in the post with NBA bigs. Watch the video and see how hard Banks is working them. You get better by working against folks on your level or better. You can't get better as a post player by posting up old men shorter and smaller than you.Posted by: lilhollywood10"

Except most of the time, they practice against one another. As in training camp and preseason. What we saw with Banks was just a simple contact drill.

The real problem in the NBA is how little practice time they get once the season starts. Of any type.

Posted by: Samson151 | November 2, 2010 3:30 PM | Report abuse

both of you make good points,

Posted by: gmac78 | November 2, 2010 3:32 PM | Report abuse

That was the most "lack luster" practice session I've ever seen. I see why they can't win. Their work ethic is the worst. I guess they haven't heard the saying "you play the way you practice."

Posted by: carterm1 | November 2, 2010 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Except most of the time, they practice against one another.

Posted by: Samson151 | November 2, 2010 3:30 PM | Report abuse

And AB practiced against AJ for years and that is why AB believes a power forward should play soft since no one else was around to explain AJ isn't a PF in the NBA.

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | November 2, 2010 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Except most of the time, they practice against one another. As in training camp and preseason. What we saw with Banks was just a simple contact drill.

The real problem in the NBA is how little practice time they get once the season starts. Of any type.

Posted by: Samson151 | November 2, 2010 3:30 PM | Report abuse

I feel ya, which is why i was surprised to see them working against Banks and not each other. I don't think that clip is indicative of how practice is everyday. However, with post-play being a point of emphasis for the coaches and players, it's kinda funny to watch such a lackadaisical video of a short (by comparison) coach playing Ole defense. Especially when Lee sices the opening like this

"Wizards assistant Gene Banks leaned in and put all of his weight on Andray Blatche. He pushed him, shoved him and roughed him up every time Blatche received the ball in the low post. Blatche had to accept the pounding and still get his shot off. He finally got frustrated, dropped his shoulder, sent Banks stumbling back and dunked."

you'da thought the drill was all sorts of physical. It was super soft. And then you are surprised when they come out and play soft.

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | November 2, 2010 4:18 PM | Report abuse

From the video, Gene Banks seems to back away every time when the guy is ready to shoot. Don't they expect their shots get challenged?

Posted by: sagaliba | November 2, 2010 4:25 PM | Report abuse

i would have liked to see Banks making them guard each other, really dont see what good that drill did other than to annoy them a little bit.

Of course, that was just a short thing after practice, who knows what else goes on.

the beauty of that Howard/Hakeem clip was that Dream still has all his moves, down to where he points his toes, the whole 9 yards. I swear AB could pick a lot of that up, finesse moves on the inside

Posted by: divi3 | November 2, 2010 4:37 PM | Report abuse

The video is rediculous. Saunders is rediculous and Mike Lee is rediculous!

Posted by: bobilly2 | November 2, 2010 4:47 PM | Report abuse

All things considered, The clip served one useful purpose: THE WIZARDS NEED A YOUGER, MORE AGRESSIVE COACHING STAFF!!!

With all the recent ex-players like 'The Dream' and knowing we are going no were soon, why not do like Oklahoma did and hire a younger head coach and staff to grow with the team?

That clip was soft man... SOFT!!!

Posted by: bazteal | November 2, 2010 4:59 PM | Report abuse

It was super soft. And then you are surprised when they come out and play soft.

Pretty funny thinking that's what Blatche has been up to for the last month, then he looks shell-shocked with Howard and Gortat busting his azz.

Seems absurd to have Banks' level of physicality be the measure of the drill. How about getting Booker and Seraphin in there defending?

ok, it's just a short vid clip, no big deal...but mike lee didnt choose a flattering scene

Posted by: divi3 | November 2, 2010 5:07 PM | Report abuse

I guess they haven't heard the saying "you play the way you practice."

You practice the way the Coach makes you practice. Team is 0-2, wouldnt hurt to have somebody barking at ABs lazy butt as he walked after the ball. Of course, Flip is an established winner with the staff he wants, so what the hell do i know

Posted by: divi3 | November 2, 2010 5:17 PM | Report abuse

"And AB practiced against AJ for years and that is why AB believes a power forward should play soft since no one else was around to explain AJ isn't a PF in the NBA.
Posted by: bulletsfan78"

Andray has never been one for the real physical stuff. By temperament, he's a tweener. If he steels himself for contact, he's effective. If he lets himself get pushed around, he's not.

Posted by: Samson151 | November 2, 2010 6:02 PM | Report abuse

Ok, so we watch one drill from one practice and extrapolate their entire training regimen from that?

Btw, to all of the big proponents of AB's numbers at the end of last year, guess who the coaches were? Flip Saunders and Gene Banks. I.e. nothing has changed. So you can't give AB credit for those numbers last year (which frequently have come along with statements like 'he outplayed almost every other PF he played against') and then blame the coaches and their practice style for his play this year. Same guys.

Now to the other side of the argument...

Except most of the time, they practice against one another. As in training camp and preseason. What we saw with Banks was just a simple contact drill.
Posted by: Samson151

Any evidence that the collective post defense of Yi, McGee, etc is any better than the ole defense offered by Banks in this case? You don't have to be a big man to teach big man's moves, but it would be nice to have someone around (either a player or coach) who can provide a good representation of post defense for the guys to practice against.

Posted by: ts35 | November 2, 2010 6:07 PM | Report abuse

"From the video, Gene Banks seems to back away every time when the guy is ready to shoot."Posted by: sagaliba

A skill session, right? The skill being to absorb a push and then go to the basket. They weren't practicing shooting over seven-footers.

Banks actually shoved them, which is more than they might get in a game, where there's a ref watching.

Posted by: Samson151 | November 2, 2010 6:07 PM | Report abuse

I like that Blatche is shooting outside.

To be a truly dominant PF you have to get defenders to respect your outside shot, aka Karl malone--->and (for those of you who have never played competitive basketball), the only way to really get better is to practice in GAMES.

Shaq can shoot 49/50 free throws during practice daily!

GAME= totally different.

That Said, lett him improve his J. Especially now early in the season. EVeryone knows he's got the inside game. NOw's the time to improve the Outside game.

I do feel however blatche needs to get more physical on D and rebounding.

Posted by: dochs1 | November 2, 2010 6:11 PM | Report abuse

Btw, to all of the big proponents of AB's numbers at the end of last year, guess who the coaches were? Flip Saunders and Gene Banks. I.e. nothing has changed. So you can't give AB credit for those numbers last year (which frequently have come along with statements like 'he outplayed almost every other PF he played against') and then blame the coaches and their practice style for his play this year. Same guys.

Many people think ABs 'breakout' had everything to do with finally getting consistent time and nothing to do with Gene Banks or Flip. Could be correct, could be wrong, but either way it's not the 'can't have it both ways' you're implying.

Posted by: divi3 | November 2, 2010 6:30 PM | Report abuse

I like that Blatche is shooting outside.

To be a truly dominant PF you have to get defenders to respect your outside shot

KG probably takes 40% of his shots outside 16ft, Blatche probably wants to do the same

Posted by: divi3 | November 2, 2010 6:32 PM | Report abuse

Blatche doesn't make moves to the basket because he is a poor ball handler..and also because his heart is not into the inside game...this is 5th or 6th year with the Wiz...how long does it take to develop and inside game...

As I said earlier you have to have heart to play inside and so far Blatche has not displayed any except against much more inferior players..

Posted by: pentagon40 | November 2, 2010 8:55 PM | Report abuse

A player can't be a type that he isn't.
A player isn't to blame for not being a preferred type. The management and coach is to blame for lack of a certain type on a team.

Posted by: CTaylor42 | November 2, 2010 9:43 PM | Report abuse

Btw, to all of the big proponents of AB's numbers at the end of last year, guess who the coaches were? Flip Saunders and Gene Banks. I.e. nothing has changed. So you can't give AB credit for those numbers last year (which frequently have come along with statements like 'he outplayed almost every other PF he played against') and then blame the coaches and their practice style for his play this year. Same guys.

Many people think ABs 'breakout' had everything to do with finally getting consistent time and nothing to do with Gene Banks or Flip. Could be correct, could be wrong, but either way it's not the 'can't have it both ways' you're implying.

Posted by: divi3

It is if you actually pay attention to what I was actually saying. I wasn't crediting them with his statistical output from last year. People are watching this video and complaining that the coaching is not properly preparing AB (and the other bigs) to play in games. Yet it was the same coaches who were in place last year when he was putting up big numbers, so it's hard to argue that the coaching is a prohibitive factor.

If the statement is that practicing against Gene Banks and the rest of the drills don't prepare AB to put up numbers, well, it's the same guy and the same drills as last year when he was putting up numbers. So if you're the kind of person who lauds AB for outplaying all (or most) other PFs at the end of last season, you can't come back and say now that the coaching is detrimental to his ability to do that this year. Because it's the same coaching.

That's not a statement on the quality of the coaching in one way or another.

Posted by: ts35 | November 2, 2010 11:34 PM | Report abuse

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