Of all the professional basketball players currently employed by the Washington Wizards, Andray Blatche is perhaps the most likely player who will define GM Ernie Grunfeld's tenure on the team. It won't be John Wall, who was essentially a layup of a draft pick and will be the face of the franchise for the next decade. Nick Young and JaVale McGee still perform too erratically for fans to pin their hopes to their development. Instead it is second round pick Andray Blatche, who emerged last year for Antawn Jamison's shadow for whom the Wizard's success will most likely be judged.
This is both a blessing and a curse for Blatche, who has spend most of his career laboring under what many NBA experts see as failed expectations. For years Wizards fans have been proclaiming that if Blatche were to receive more playing time he would soon reveal himself to be Kevin Garnett lite, an offensive dynamo with the athletic prowess to be a sizable force on defense. However, instead of Garnett's controlled symphonic fury, Wizards fans found themselves attending what amounted to a free jazz concert. The unleashed Andray Blatche has proven to be an unpredictable yet destructive force, just as likely to unleash a three at the top of the key as he is willing to mix it up down on the block.
Many experts believe that in order for Blatche to take his next steps in his transformation to a truly dominating player he will have to abandon his forays out to the perimeter and instead concentrate on his labors to the toil of playing down low and posting up lesser opponents. However, it remains uncertain whether a controlled and normalized Andray Blatche would remain as effective a contributor. If Blatche were to take the persona of an Elton Brand, and only concern himself with the work of a traditional forward, he would lose much of the mojo that makes Blatche who he is as a player.
On the final possession of Tuesday's game against the Philadelphia, Blatche took the ball down low and was fouled, resulting in a trip to free throw line and securing the eventual win. It was as un-Blatchelike a sequence as one could have expected. And whether I wanted it to or not, that saddened me.
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