Could Andray Blatche Be Final Piece to Minnesota Timberwolves' Puzzle?
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The Minnesota Timberwolves made a number of moves this offseason to solidify themselves in the playoff mix in the always competitive Western Conference.
According to 1500ESPN, they took a look at Andray Blatche.
They added Brandon Roy, a former leading scorer for the Portland Trail Blazers and Washington Huskies. His career was thought to be over after chronic knee issues had the former all-star pondering retirement, but when healthy and back to his old self, Roy is one of the top-15 players in the NBA.
Roy will serve as the shooting guard. Minnesota added another newcomer in veteran Andrei Kirilenko, a 6’9’’ defensive stalwart who spent last season playing in his native Russia. Another Russian, Alexey Shved, was added to provide depth behind Roy at shooting guard.
Former University of Arizona standout Chase Budinger was acquired in a draft day trade from Houston for the Timberwolves' No. 18 overall pick, a move that gives them added length and three-point shooting ability, as Budinger is developing into one of the best shooters in the league.
These major acquisitions may not be enough, though, as the Timberwolves still feel they need more to compete with the revamped Los Angeles Lakers and the defending conference champion Oklahoma City Thunder.
With questionable size outside of MVP candidate Kevin Love, Minnesota is looking for a center to help Love down low on the blocks.
After recently being amnestied by the Washington Wizards, Andray Blatche is an interesting option for teams in need of a big man, but is Blatche the answer for the Timberwolves in the post?
It is hard to say, because he would provide much-needed depth at the four and five positions, but Blatche would do more harm than good for Minnesota.
On the one hand, Blatche is a solid scorer who posted strong numbers two years ago despite regressing last season.
But while he can put the ball in the basket, his game is not one that would complement Love well.
Blatche loves to play with his back to the basket, and was often criticized in his Wizards career for not going up strong among other things.
A 2010 article by Mike Prada of bulletsforever.com, written near the end of the 2009-2010 season where Blatche was averaging a solid 14.1 ppg and 6.3 rpg, illustrates Blatche’s unwillingness to be coached, play defense or put the team first.
Though some may say Blatche has matured, this is not the case. A player who came directly out of high school for the 2005 draft, Blatche continued to rip into his head coach this past season as was documented by Sean Sweeney of dimemag.com and many other news sources who jumped on the continued rivalry between player and coach.
Blatche is the kind of player you do not want on your team once things go wrong. He is quick to put the blame on coaches, play calling, or anyone in management for the failures of the team.
Simply put, he is not an accountable athlete, and though his numbers were strong, he benefited from being the only decent post player on the Wizards while the JaVale McGee experiment continued to fail.
The Wizards are happy to part ways with him and move on from the dysfunctional days Blatche and that team leave behind.
Though some may argue playing next to someone like Love will help Blatche get his head on straight and learn to be a good teammate, I am not buying it.
While Minnesota has the core in place to win games and avoid these kinds of controversies, Ricky Rubio and Brandon Roy still have major injury concerns, concerns that make it hard for the Timberwolves to make any guarantees about the 2012-2013 season.
As for Blatche, he needs to work on getting open in the low post, as he currently gets the ball too often at the top of the key where his jump shot is strong, but not strong every night.
Love needs someone to bang around inside and help on the offensive boards, and current Timberwolve center Nikola Pekovic is a better option for that role than Blatche, who though he would disagree with this assessment, is much more a finesse power forward than a shot-blocking, big-time rebounding center.
Blatche is not a good fit for any team with playoff aspirations. The Wizards teams he was a big part of were some of the worst teams record-wise in the NBA year in and year out, and though the entirety of the blame can not be placed on Blatche, it would be nice to see him shoulder some of that burden, since he shouldered little else while playing for the Wizards.
Thus, the possibility of Blatche heading to Minnesota is not something Timberwolves fans should get too excited about.
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