Wizards' Blatche already showing frustration

|
Sports,NBA,Wizards,Craig Stouffer
Forward says he wants ball in the post more

Wizards coach Flip Saunders said Andray Blatche came into training camp with the right attitude, and that Blatche had talked more about team success than ever before.

Wizards owner Ted Leonsis was ready to take cues from Blatche as evidence that his focus and dedication would match his skills.

"I and the front office expect really, really good things from Andray," Leonsis said. "He's a young man, and he understands that these are defining moments for him."

Up Next
Wizards at Hawks
Where » Philips Arena, Atlanta
When » Wednesday, 7:30 p.m.
TV » CSN

On Tuesday, squarely in the spotlight a day after complaining about his role in the Wizards' offense following a 90-84 loss to New Jersey in the first game of the regular season, Blatche didn't talk to reporters and instead went to Twitter to reiterate his case.

"Every body need to shut up," Blatche tweeted. "I didn't call out my coach or team mates I said I had a bad game need it n the post instead of jump shots."

And thus begins the 25-year-old's seventh season with the Wizards, the second since he was handed a five-year, $35 million extension. Over the summer, Saunders had given him John C. Maxwell's book, "The 17 Essential Qualities of a Team Player."

By airing his grievances on Monday night, Blatche momentarily provided a distraction from John Wall's missed free throws and turnovers down the stretch that had a more immediate influence on the result.

But he also revealed his larger frustration over a lesser role even though he's the team's longest-tenured player, one who introduced himself to the Verizon Center crowd by saying, "This is your captain, Andray Blatche."

"Give me the ball in the paint," he said after recording 11 points, eight rebounds, three assists and two blocks in Monday's loss. "That's where 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. It's not working for me."

Saunders, who'd made Gilbert Arenas and John Wall captains in his first two seasons, played down the importance of naming a team captain, saying it would be determined on a rotating basis. But he was pleased to hear about Blatche's intended change of approach.

"His reputation has been for six years that he won't go in the post," Saunders said. "I love hearing that. We try to get him the ball. We'll try to continue to get him the ball down there more and be efficient like that. He also has to understand, just because you get it at 17 feet, you don't have to shoot it either. I'm not twisting his arm to do that. Just make basketball plays and he'll be able to do that."

cstouffer@washingtonexaminer.com

View article comments Leave a comment