Considering the numerous amounts of low points over Andray Blatche's seven-year run in Washington, historians might struggle determing which one stands out as the Dead Sea equivalent. Pretty sure we can all agree that when the Wizards sat Blatche during the second half of last season with a "DNP-conditioing" note in the box score, it was clear they'd had enough.
That's why there is no doubt every Wizards fan is surely thrilled to hear that now, entering the 2012-13 season with the Brooklyn Nets, Blatche found religion - for getting in shape that is. Some proof comes Monday night when the Wizards play the Nets in Brooklyn (7:30, ComcastSportsNet).
Oh, he also hasn't forgotten about those who didn't believe in him. His new jersey number, also an homage to Gilbert Arenas, says so.
First, the in-shape thing. This from Monday's New York Post. Commence eye-roll:
Blatche’s seven years with the Wizards were tumultuous, a mix of unrealized potential and questions surrounding his maturity. He averaged 16.8 points and 8.2 rebounds during the 2010-11 season, but struggled last season and was benched for conditioning issues.
Blatche has been impressive for the Nets since inking a partially guaranteed one-year, $1.1 million deal. He came into camp in tip-top shape and had 12 points and five rebounds in the team’s preseason opener Saturday night, hitting the game-winning shot as the Nets edged the 76ers 108-105 in overtime.
Blatche credits the time he spent over the summer with noted guru John Lucas. Blatche’s aunt introduced him to the former NBA player and coach, and Blatche spent two months in Houston, working out three times a day three days a week and twice a day three other days to get into better condition.
“That’s what I needed to do,” Blatche said. “That was important for me this summer.”
He added: “It paid off.”
One could argue his previous, less disciplined behavior paid off financially, but I get his angle.
*Then we find out Blatche went from No. 7 in Washington to number zero or as the NY Post referred to him, "Net Zero."
“Everybody thought I was going to be out of the league,” Blatche said. “Zero reminds me I didn’t have any support system outside of my immediate family, nobody who thought I was going to bounce back and get on another team.”
Sure some beyond frustratred fans on message boards and elsewhere posted about the end of Blatche's career, but nobody in the NBA circles did. Blatche's talent has never been in question. Just his desire to deliver on it. Blatche's new coach, Avery Johnson, said the versatile scorer "could be one of the steals of free agency." You know what, he might be right. Heck I've said that even though Blatche had to take a one-year deal now, there will be another decent multi-year contract in his future. Good luck to that future employer, by the way.
*Blatche also wants you to know he's doing just fine in Brooklyn, on a team where folks help each other out.
Blatche is thrilled to be in Brooklyn, on a team he feels comfortable with. He said his new teammates are like his “brothers” already — he lifts weights each day with Reggie Evans and works on post moves with Jerry Stackhouse — and repeatedly used the word “fun” to describe his time with his new organization.
“It’s great to be a part of a team that will help one another out,” he said. “I have a new beginning, not as much stuff hanging over my head. I can go out and play, I don’t have to think. It’s just fun.”
*As for facing his old team, apparently the game has no extra juice for Blatche, even though, as the Post writes, "Blatche does remember those who doubted him — though he didn’t name names."
One former teammate Blatche named and is the partial inspiration for the jersey number choice, the originial Agent Zero himself Gilbert Arenas.
[Blatche] also picked it in honor of former Wizards teammate Gilbert Arenas, whom he said he learned a great deal from at the start of his career.
“I kind of like his motto: ‘From zero to hero,’ ” Blatche said. “Hopefully I can come from being nothing to something.”