The Wizards expected a lot from power forward Andray Blatche when they inked him to an extension in 2010 that pays him about $35 mil until 2015 (foolishly with no player or team option). Blatche responded with a solid 2010-2011 campaign, averaging career highs of 16.8 ppg and 8.3 rpg.
Unfortunately Blatche has regressed this season after coming to camp out of shape and seeming to lack motivation. The Wizards home crowd have been letting Blatche hear about their displeasure, showering him with boo’s when he has been on the court and not on the training table (Blatche has missed 18 of the Wizards 37 games so far). Blatche stated Monday night after the Wizrds were creamed 120-100 by the Warriors that the boo’s are bringing him down and starting to affect his play:
“It’s tough. You’re home and people that’s supposed to have your back don’t have your back,” a dejected Blatche said after the game. “Instead of encouraging you to get better, they push you down and hope you do worse. It’s not only hurting me it’s hurting my teammates. That’s what I feel most upset about because I can’t come out and perform, help my teammates because I’m letting the crowd get to my head, making me second guess, not letting me be the player that I am. It’s very frustrating I’m just hopefully trying to fight over it and overcome.”
Personally, I think Blatche blaming the fans for his poor play is pretty weak. Blatche’s job as a professional athlete is to perform at his highest level, regardless of the crowd environment. Those same fans who are boo’ing Blatche for his poor play would cheer for him if he were playing up to par, which he hasn’t this season (averaging only 9 ppg and 7 rpg). Instead of complaining about the boo’s Blatche should be focusing on getting his game in order.
Unless the Wizards can find a taker for Blatche’s remaining contract, they might be stuck with him for a couple more seasons. On the bright side, Blatche is only 25 and at 6’11″, 260 he still does has some potential to be productive. But it would take a major shift in his mentality to reach that potential.