NBA / Dec 27, 2011 / 11:00 am

Andray Blatche Rips Flip Saunders & Washington’s Play-Calling

Andray Blatche

Andray Blatche (photo. Keith Allison)

Already this year, we’ve seen Washington get embarrassed at home in a preseason game and now they’ve lose their opener to the New Jersey Nets after going up 36-12 in the first half. Afterwards, disagreements between players and coaches spilled into the media; Andray Blatche ripped Flip Saunders‘ play-calling and offense after he heard some remarks from the coach that appeared to be directed at him. Sound familiar? With a talented group completely devoid of leadership, these first few weeks of basketball have me worried all over again about that team in Washington. They should be turning a corner this year. But first, they have to get over themselves.

Blatche played 39 minutes and went 5-for-13 from the floor for 11 points and eight boards, but complained loudly after the game that he needed the ball on the block more often, despite going only 2-for-6 from nine feet and in.

Blatche told The Washington Post:

“I said that I need the ball in the paint to be effective. You can’t keep having me pick and pop and shooting jump shots. Give me the ball in the paint. That’s what I’m most effective at. I’ve been saying that since training camp — I need the ball in the paint. I don’t want to be the pick and pop guy that I used to be. Because it’s not working for me. I’m not saying the offense has to flow through me, but I prefer to be in the paint.”

Saunders complained of selfish play and that some of his players were trying to do it all themselves instead of focusing on making it work together. A few of Blatche’s teammates didn’t exactly take their big man’s side either. John Wall reportedly was confused by Blatche’s anger and said in practice, Blatche gets the ball in pick-n-pop situations as well as on the block. It’s only up to the play being called. Nick Young also said he felt Blatche was taking everything a little too personally now that the big man was really intent on being a leader.

Blatche is really trying to make a change in the Wizards’ culture, but all in all this team is running in circles right now. With all of the talent they have – Blatche, Wall, Young, JaVale McGee, Jordan Crawford – hopefully they can focus.

Just as they could’ve easily blown out New Jersey by 30 and no one would’ve batted an eye, the Wizards are ripe for collapses like this because they do play so up and down. Just one regular season game into the year, it’s clear: Without a turn in attitude, what might be the league’s most immature team could be in for yet another disappointing season.

Should the Wizards be worried about the makeup of their team?

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  • http://deleted dagwaller

    At first, I was ready to be pissed at Blatche, but if he’s just trying to be a leader, ok. Especially if he wants the ball inside more. Not too many players call for that.

    Just don’t do this through the media, Andray!

  • First & Foremost

    I hate asking for help and the only person around is the last person I want helping me. That is the Wizards right now. They asked for “someone” to be the leader and Blatche looked around as no one stepped up, then decided to take the job. He calls a team practice but only 2 other people show up… he even drove one of his teammates. Everyone else, touring the country playing streetball.

    Blatche has done nothing to earn the respect of anyone in the franchise. The Wizards promoted their “Big 3″ and it was Wall/Mcgee/Young. How is your team leader outside of the core players you want to build around?

    This team better grow up fast or everything not named John Wall will be shipped out.

  • Big Island

    You can be a leader without putting up big numbers. Perkins was kinda like that in Boston because you saw how bad that team got shook when he got traded. He just showed up, did his thing, never bitched, busted his ass, and never took/got any credit until he left. Then all of the other guys came out and said how big of a piece he was to their team.

    I admire Blatche for stepping up to try to be a leader, especially if they asked someone to and nobody did. But as a leader, you publicly say what you need to do as a team and make individual pleas in private. You shouldn’t make individual pleas at all really, but if you do, do it in private. Washington has some talent, but it seems like they would all rather score 40 and lose than score 10 and win.

  • nyk

    with this guy, Jordan Crawford and Nick Young, you gotta feel bad for Wall.

    so when is wall going to request for a trade?

  • First & Foremost

    @Big Island, the difference between Washington and Boston is that Boston is more of a Roundtable type of leadership. Rondo & Perkins lead by being active or vocal/silent, Pierce and Allen lead by being calm, and then KG with his intensity. Washington has none of that. Whenever someone makes a mistake everyone else just looks the other way and doesn’t say anything.

    Nick Young takes an off balance shot and misses, people don’t even bother to say “shake it off, get a good look next time.” It is more like, “here we go again, Young taking bad shots but I won’t say anything about it.”

    Wall doesn’t have to demand a trade, he just has to step up to the plate as a leader. Last year he had Kirk to lean on but obviously he isn’t there now. Sam Cassell needs to put some base in John Wall’s voice.

  • iLL MAGO

    Get off the bandwagon Dime! Wall this, Wall that…the TEAM is crap, bunch of megalomaniacs! Well at least they are better than Toronto and New Orleans right? I mean, the records indicate it and Sean’s pre-season predictions said so. I attribute a 24 point breakdown not to “immaturity” but from what every player on this team(especially Nick Young) is driving for, Rashard Lewis’ paycheque per game, and that would be $303,030. So Go get yours wiz kids, I’m sure all that stat-stuffing will ensure wins!

  • doc

    U said they got all this talent and besides Wall named all them average ass players.I wouldnt be mad at no big who wanna post up instead of shoot jumpers.

  • http://brokejumper.com/ Brokejumper

    Blatche needs to work on his rebounding and blocked shots, 8.2 and 0.5 for a 6’11″ guy?

  • dk

    If the team needs a leader and an identity this bad… its time for Saunders to go.

  • Reed Ewing Frazier

    I’m a Knicks fan but I stay in D.C. I been listening to sports radio all day at work they have been clowning this dude because last season he said he was a finesse player not a down low baller. Dude is straight garbage Grunfeld should have been fired years ago. I feel sorry for Wall and Flip the WIZ will never win with Ja Fail McGee, Andray Blaah, and Rashard lew-ser. Please NBA get rid of Charlotte, New Orleans,Toronto, OKC, Utah and Cleveland. This would restore balance in the NBA.

    Knicks Up!! all the rest down!!