Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Hey everyone, your booing is affecting Andray Blatche

In last night's 120-100 loss to the Warriors, the Wizards were unprepared from the very beginning and were outscored in the first quarter by 17, 41-24. They never recovered. As you'd expect, the Wizards' defense was particularly awful, allowing open shot after open shot. As a team, the Warriors shot over 54 percent, and they knocked down 15 of 23 three-pointers. That's undoubtedly some impressive shooting, but again, only a bad defensive squad allows that to happen.

In his second game back after sitting out the entire month of February with a calf injury, Andray Blatche played 13 minutes and finished with four points (2-6 shooting) and four rebounds. He and Shelvin Mack also had a game-low +/- of -20.

During the game, Blatche was basically booed every time he touched the ball, and it's been that way for a large chunk of the season. Like several other Wizards, he's not playing well at all, and as you'd expect, the fans' constant booing is getting to him:
"It's tough when you're at home and people that are supposed to have your back don't have your back," he said. "Instead of encouraging you to get better, they actually push you down and make you worse. In the long run, it's not only hurting me, it's hurting my teammates."

"That's what I feel most upset about because I can't help out and perform for my teammates, because I'm letting the crowd get into my head and making me second-guess, not let me be the player that I am," he added. "It's very frustrating. Hopefully, I'm just trying to fight to overcome it."
Blatche has become the scapegoat for this underachieving, terrible team. JaVale McGee and Nick Young receive their fair share of blame for spotty, underwhelming play, but Blatche is this team's second-highest paid player and still has three years and more than $23 million left on his contract. Blatche's deal isn't horrible, necessarily, but he's supposed to be contributing much more than he is and is supposed to be a team leader. Neither has happened, and fans are tired of Blatche's presence on this team. Remember, this is the same guy who complained after the very first game this season that he wasn't getting the ball in the paint more. And it's not like there's anything about Blatche that makes you think he's some kind of efficient low-post threat.

Right or wrong, Blatche will keep getting booed. He's an honest guy and has some redeeming qualities, but he's just not getting it done on the court. In a perfect world no one would get booed, but admitting that it is affecting his game and leading to him "second-guessing" while on the court is only going to make fans boo louder. The only way to make the boos stop is to start playing well, but there's a bigger chance that Blatche is traded or amnestied in the near future than fans cutting him some slack.

There's a very small chance that Blatche is on the team next year, and the same can be said for Nick Young. McGee may end up on the trading block, but I'd still be mildly surprised if he's not on the team next year. But if McGee is still around and Blatche is gone, he better prepare for the boo birds to be focused on him if he's not playing well and is still making bone-headed plays.