NBA Rumors: San Antonio Spurs Should Take Chances with Andray Blatche

Stephen BabbFeatured ColumnistAugust 8, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 06: Andray Blatche #7 of the Washington Wizards before the start of the Wizards game against the New York Knicks at Verizon Center on January 6, 2012 in Washington, DC.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

The San Antonio Spurs may seem like the last team on the earth that would have any interest in a guy like Andray Blatche, but don't be so sure.

The Washington Post's Michael Lee reports that the Spurs are one of at least two teams who have the big man on their radars:

San Antonio and Miami have both reportedly expressed exploratory interest in Blatche but teams have yet to make a serious pitch to employ the former Wizard, according to a source with knowledge of the situation.

No, general manager R.C. Buford hasn't lost his marbles in a fit of desperation. He knows as well as anyone does what this organization can do for guys who need to turn things around. He also knows that playing for a struggling young team can make solid players look downright atrocious.

Just ask Boris Diaw.

The Spurs stumbled upon the Frenchman after he was waived by the laughably bad Charlotte Bobcats. For Diaw, the change of scenery must have felt like waking up from a lottery-bound nightmare.

For San Antonio, it was a reminder that playing in the right kind of environment can turn a listless veteran into a consistent contributor.

By the time the postseason rolled around, that listless veteran was starting for the best team in the Western Conference.

Buford could be hoping the opportunity to prove himself on a winning club yields similar results from Blatche. Sure, he might not have given his best effort last season with the Washington Wizards, but then again, he was playing for the Washington Wizards.

Though he should have taken that job a bit more seriously given that he was playing out a five-year, $35 million contract, it's hard to come down too hard on a guy surrounded by little more than flux and player-development.

Going forward, however, he needs someone to come down very hard on him.

You think head coach Gregg Popovich is up to the task?

Me too.

The 25-year-old was drafted out of high school in 2005, steadily improved his game from 2008 to 2011 and then saw a steep decline in 2011-12–the kind of decline that involves 10 fewer minutes per game and 38 percent shooting.

He probably didn't forget how to play, and his best years should be ahead of him if his age is any indication.

So, why not roll the dice?

If the Spurs are indeed looking to deal DeJuan Blair, the opportunity to replace him with a 6'11" frame would make sense. Blatche has shown flashes of defensive ability and still has the time to develop into a good shot-blocker if mentored by the right people.

Tim Duncan is most certainly the "right people." If anyone could reach Blatche and solve his on-court and off-court problems alike, it's the combination of this coaching staff and two-time MVP.

Besides, the Spurs don't need a significant upgrade. This is a risk that's worth taking.