In the latest incarnation of the Washington Wizards (post-playoff era) the two players who have routinely gotten my goat are Nick Young and Andray Blatche.
United by their volume shooting and questionable shot selection, Blatche and Young are now the second- and fourth-leading scorers (all stats through Wednesday’s games), respectively, for the home team. The difference is in how they are doing it.
Young, a guard who really doesn’t add much more than shooting, is coming off the bench 23 minutes a game and scoring 13.2 ppg and shooting 47 percent, while Blatche, a big man, is clocking 35 minutes a game with 17.1 ppg and somehow shooting 44 percent, significantly lower than Young. In sharp contrast, JaVale McGee, an actual piece for the future, is shooting 58 percent.
Looking only at scoring, Blatche is having a great season. He isn’t.
On bad teams somebody has to score. And the Wizards, who have some pieces but don’t even know what the puzzle looks like, are bad. They were bad last year, too. This year they have the fifth-worst record in the league (6-17), last year they tied for fourth-worst (26-56, a significantly better clip than this year, shockingly). Even bad NBA teams can routinely score 100 points a game — these guys are pros and put the ball in the bucket — but that doesn’t mean a team or its players are playing well.
Here are the two leading scorers from last year’s five worst teams (minimum 50 games player on team).
1. Brook Lopez, 18.8 ppg/50 percent FGs.
2. Devin Harris, 16.9/40 percent.
1. Al Jefferson, 17.1/50 percent.
2. Kevin Love, 14.0/45 percent.
1. Tyreke Evans, 20.1/46 percent.
2. Beno Udrih, 12.9/49 percent.
1. Andray Blatche, 14.1/48 percent.
2. Mike Miller, 10.9/50 percent.
1. Monta Ellis, 25.5/45 percent.
2. Corey Maggete, 19.8/52 percent.
Here are the two leading scorers from this year’s five worst teams (minimum 15 games player on team).
1. Eric Gordon, 24.1/45 percent.
2. Blake Griffin, 20.3/50 percent.
1. Tyreke Evans, 16.7/40 percent.
2. Beno Udrih, 12.4/48 percent.
1. Michael Beasley, 21.0/48 percent.
2. Kevin Love, 20.3/45 percent.
1. Brook Lopez, 19.2/45 percent.
2. Devin Harris, 16.2/45 percent.
1. Gilbert Arenas, 17.2/39 percent.
2. Andray Blatche, 17.1/44 percent.
The Wizards, Nets and T-Wolves sure have problems, eh? As you can see, not a lot of these players are franchise guys, though their absolute scoring average looks pretty. Most frighteningly, this year’s scoring duo of Arenas/Blatche has the lowest combined shooting percentage from either this year or last year’s list of “best scorers on worst teams.” This year, Blatche is shooting worse and rebounding at the same anemic clip: Last year he averaged 7.9 rebounds per 35 minutes, this year while playing 35 minutes per game he is grabbing 7.7 rebounds. Kevin Love, at 15.6 boards a game, could probably defeat two Andray Blatches in pick-up basketball.
This is not a player that is getting better; if anything he is regressing. The Wizards should trade him immediately — this team is not going to make the playoffs and Blatche will not help them get there in the future. He is signed through the 11/12 season at around $3.5M a year, an enticing contract for most any team. And these NBA GMs can be foolish. They may see his high scoring average or observe him make a ridiculous jump shot and fall in love. I think you could probably extract a couple high draft picks from a terribly managed team, a team like…the Wizards. Sigh…
Someone has to lead every team in scoring. But if that man is Andray Blatche, that team will not be attending the playoffs.