Blatche’s Long Road

By Zack Cimini

This seemingly should be Andray Blatche’s rookie season. The 6’10 budding star has kept a low profile on the basketball court since entering the league in 2005. Coming straight out of high school he didn’t have the necessary buzz surrounding him like most high school prep star declarers. Yet he was still projected as a late first round pick. Obviously agents words of wisdom compared to where a general manager decides to invest his wallet come draft day differ all the time. For Blatche that was the case and he slipped all the way to the end of the second round.

Most second rounders have a hard time just making a team. So the prospects for Blatche certainly weren’t looking too strong. On top of the shock of slipping in the draft he also endured a tough incident in which he was shot right before his rookie training camp. Luckily it didn’t cause any significant damage and he was able to return rather quickly. He ended up spending his first year mainly in the NBA development league too work on his skill set like many young athletes that rush into the NBA.

Over the past few years he has seen his playing time increase as a result of opportunities. The Wizards let Etan Thomas go and have been battling injuries from their stars in Antwan Jamison, Caron Butler, and Gilbert Arenas at various times. This has let Blatche get into the lineup with frequency and each time he has had starters minutes he has turned some heads.

His biggest game yet in his young career came on Halloween this year when he scored 30 points. Blatche’s role with the Wizards should only expand as the season evolves. Even though the Wizards have welcomed back Antwan Jamison, the Wizards know they have to utilize the scrappy play of Blatche. He will be needed more for the heavy weight centers such as Shaquille O’Neal and just brings that extra balance to the Wizards.

Currently Blatche is only owned in 41 percent of Yahoo leagues. That dove down when Jamison returned and Blatche’s consistency of minutes took an erratic swing.

Lately though the Wizards have found a way to get him in games. After a pour finish in the last few weeks of November it seems that he is out of his rut and can be a fantasy basketball contributor in deep leagues. Even if he only gets on the floor between 20-24 minutes he has done enough statistically all around to warrant being picked up in your league. Over the last four he has averaged around 22 minutes which is only a couple down from his season average. The key though is he is averaging around eight shots a game.