It’s been a rough year for Washington Wizards forward Andray Blatche. He missed more than a month with a calf injury, his numbers are down, he’s lost the respect of the hometown fans and now his coach is sitting him until he gets back into shape.
The Wizards tried unsuccessfully to move Blatche before the trade deadline but not surprisingly, no one wanted him. In the 9 games since he’s been back, he’s just been awful. Coach Randy Wittman takes some of the blame for that.
“We thought we could maybe try to play him into shape once he got back,” Wittman said. “After looking at it, it’s unfair for me to put him in that position, and I think what we’re going to do, we’re going to probably not play him for a while, get him on a program here, where he can really go after it from a conditioning standpoint to get himself back into shape. It’s not fair for me to do that to the kid.”
An admirable move by Wittman to not just come out and say that Blatche has been stinking up the court, but anyone who watches the Wizards can see that’s what’s happening. Blatche is still going to practice with the team and be at the home games, but he won’t travel with the team.
The Wizards were able to get Nene in a three-team trade with Denver, so they don’t really need Blatche as much at the moment. It’s not like the Wizards are fighting for a playoff spot either, so they can take their time and hope Blatche can get back into playing shape.
“We’ve got these new guys here anyway. We can look at these guys, we’ve got bodies. It’s an opportunity for us to have Dray really concentrate on his conditioning, getting his weight where it needs to be and then seeing where that leads,” Wittman said. “My thought turned out to be wrong, in terms of playing him into shape. Because with that injury, he didn’t have any ability to do conditioning and I’m putting him in bad spots.”
I won’t hold my breath the Blatche comes back this year, but if he wants to play next year, he’d better work his butt off in the offseason. He’s got a lot of work to do, we’ll see how dedicated he really is.