The Washington Wizards are overloaded with projects that have poor work ethic and lack any sort of real discipline and hunger to become a great player.
The poster boy has been Andray Blatche.
By no surprise, the Wiz are now looking to trade the problematic power forward, according to Michael Lee of the Washington Post:
The Wizards have aggressively tried to deal Blatche in advance of the March 15 trade deadline, according to multiple league sources, but struggled to find any takers. Blatche is certainly open to a change of scenery, according to a person close to him.
Of course he would. In Blatche’s world, it’s not his fault he was benched in favor of the raw rookie Jan Vesely in late January. He curiously strained his calf in the next game against the Bobcats.
Fast forward to today, and he’s missed the last 13 games with an injury that honestly doesn’t sound too severe.
After putting up almost 17 points and 8.3 rebounds a season ago while shooting 45 percent, his numbers have plummeted to 10.3 and 7.1 while shooting 38 percent.
This was the year the 25-year-old was supposed to hold a leadership role for one of the youngest and most impressionable teams in the league.
In another passage in Lee’s article, he hits the nail on the head as to why teams don’t want to touch a young and athletic 6’11’, 260 pound forward with a 10-foot pole:
Blatche is still owed nearly $23 million after this season, and rival teams have expressed concern about his conditioning and character.
He has had numerous run-ins with the law that include getting charged with reckless driving, soliciting sex from an undercover police officer and failing to appear in court after driving with a suspended license (via ESPN).
To his credit, he hasn’t been in trouble since 2008, but it’s a reminder that this guy isn’t exactly a saint. He came into the league straight out of high school in 2005 and has still yet to grow up seven years later.
But forget about his off-court woes, it’s his lack of leadership that is one of the main reasons the Wizards are one of the worst teams in the league. At the beginning of the season, Blatche was named one of the captains of the team, only to have the title snatched away from him after a grand total of one game. He thought it was a good idea to rip coach Flip Sanders, the coaching staff and his teammates for not giving him the ball enough in the paint.
As the season wore on and his lack of effort both mentally and physically became evident, fans began to boo him at home games every time he touched the ball. This has, in turn, made Blatche very tentative with the ball at the Verizon Center.
It’s a toxic situation that needs a swift ending.
Blatche needs to be surrounded by a group of veterans that won’t accept his antics. He needs to be told what to do and fill a role as a strong rebounder/defender on a mature team like the San Antonio Spurs.
It’s too early to give up on his athleticism and natural talents, but the young and immature Wizards are much better without him.
All it takes is one team to bail them out.