David Thorpe of ESPN Insider and Scott Cacciola of the Wall Street Journal take a look at Andray Blatche's journey, not the one where he gets "fired" by the Wizards, but what happened afterwards. It's about how the 26-year-old has shown he's capable of being a top big man in the NBA ... and according to most stats, already is.
Thorpe, in a lengthy assessment, doesn't blame the Wizards (although increasingly others are), but says the two simply needed a divorce and Blatche needed a new love ... of the game.
The impact the Nets have had on him is profound. Blatche is now playing for a team with a purpose. This team expects to compete for a ring, and it has a lot of experienced talent, far more than what Blatche had ever seen in Washington. Head coach Avery Johnson knows how to grind on guys and get them to buy in, and Blatche needs this. He will not embrace the grind on his own; he has to be pushed, pulled and challenged.
Thorpe points out just how good Blatche has been for the Nets. Before Wednesday night's game, Blatche had a top ten and career-best PER of 24.13, and career-best numbers in offensive rebound rate (17.14, more than doubling 2011-12) and defensive rebound rate (21.4). He's also at a career low in turnover rate (11.1), writes Thorpe and is flirting with his career-best true shooting percentage.
Cacciola notes another statistic in his profile. "his 'win shares,' an advanced statistic defined by Basketball Reference as an estimate of the number of wins contributed by a player per 48 minutes, was a team-leading .198. Lopez ranked third, at .153. The NBA average is roughly .100."
As Cacciola writes, you can't blame Blatche for the Nets problems.
- The Brooklyn Nets are exactly what Andray Blatche needs and he's playing like it - David Thorpe - ESPN Insider
- Don't Blame Andray Blatche For the Nets' Descent - Scott Cacciola - Wall Street Journal
Andray Blatche Is Playing Great, But Will Nets Lose Him After This Season? - Moke Hamilton - SNY