Andray Blatche tweeted out a message early Thursday that came across as appreciative ... and humble: "I'm very thankful for the 2nd chance I have gotten now to make the best out of it."
So far, so good.
Word out of the PNY Center is that the 6'11" Blatche is playing well...VERY well, in fact. And very hard, too. Billy King hinted at Blatche's progress at Tuesday' morning's media availability. Buried in the comments about playoffs and championship were King's comments about the 26-year-old with the troubled past ... as posted by Stefan Bondy:
"I think he’s got a clean slate. I think he’s got the talent. His weight is the best it has ever been. He’s at 264 pounds right now. He lost weight and a lot of the issues that plagued him in the past aren’t there. So we told him, ‘You have a clean slate, an opportunity to just play basketball. You have a great support system. You have great veterans that can lead you.’ We’re not going to put any expectations on him. We’re just going to let him play basketball and see how things unfold."
But that review was nothing compared to Jerry's Stackhouse's interview Tuesday night with Anthony Donahue of KnicksBlog Radio. Stackhouse raved about Blatche.
I'm telling you right now that Andray Blatche, be ready for that boy this year! He's turned the corner. Whatever has happened with him in Washington, he's ready to assume a nice role with this Nets team that I think a lot of people will be impressed with...
This guy can do it all. He can stand out...he played the five, he's big enough to play the five. There's not a five in the league who can guard him. You know what I'm saying? He has perimeter skills. He can put the ball on the floor and he can pretty much get his shot off when he wants to. His commitment has to be on the defensive end. and trying to understand the team concept, the team defense.
He hadn't had a lot of that, quite frankly, in the situation he's been in. There's been so much turbulence, so much focus on what happened off the court and for a young guy to take on the brunt of that -he was kind of the poster child for the malcontent of what was happening there. So now, he doesn't have to be that guy. He's got guys he can lean on, guys ... he can just play basketball. I think that's going to be huge for him.
Of course, Blatche hasn't even been signed to a guaranteed deal yet. Moreover, his six-year career with the Wizards were filled with such teases, followed by disappointment and ultimately amnesty. But as King and Stackhouse noted, Blatche has a "great support system" in Brooklyn, something he didn't have in Washington. How much of that promise gets fulfilled is up to him.