Brooklyn isn't a bad place for fresh start. In a new NBA city (of sorts) and a new building with new uniforms, Andray Blatche will get yet another chance to prove he can be a mature professional and maximize his talent after signing with the Nets.
But Blatche, 26 and entering his eighth season, has never had a shortage of opportunities; the Wizards were tirelessly patient with the 6-foot-11 big man. They gambled on Blatche being able to grow up and into the player they envisioned and paid for it with the amnesty clause.
With a reported nonguaranteed, $1.1 million veteran's minimum contract, the Nets don't assume anywhere near the same level of risk.
Brooklyn has a veteran, All-Star backcourt in Deron Williams and Joe Johnson, along with pricey center Brook Lopez (four years, $61 million) and power forward Kris Humphries (two years, $24 million).
They've also added 6-9 Bosnian shooter Mirza Teletovic and 6-8 rebounder Reggie Evans. Both could make it hard for Blatche to find minutes at forward, but Lopez does not have a natural backup.
Battling in the paint, it won't take long to figure out whether Blatche is in shape, and Nets coach Avery Johnson will yank the leash tight if Blatche settles for a trademark long 2-pointer.
But Blatche could find a niche just like his former cohorts, Nick Young and JaVale McGee, who have played play well in lesser roles since leaving Washington. He will see some of his other former teammates right away, too. The Nets open Barclays Center with a preseason game against the Wizards on Oct. 15.
- Craig Stouffer