Submitted by Cory Bernstein of Hoops Talk Nation
Brooklyn’s Finest 15 is the ranking of all 15 Nets based on what I think will be their impact on Brooklyn this season. Here’s number 11, Andray Blatche.
I thought I wrote about Andray Blatche aleady and was going to link the article, but I can’t find it. Oh well. But what I said about the Blatche signing a few weeks ago still applies; I don’t get it.
I don’t get why the Nets built a “Core 4” that pride themselves on being upstanding citizens, then signed Blatche. This team’s PR Machine has spent the last few months marketing the idea that our best players, are regular, normal people, not imbeciles like Blatche.
Off the court, Blatche is obviously a nightmare though he has been a victim of circumstance many a time. For example, one cannot blame him for being shot while riding as a passenger in a car near his home in 2005 in an attempted carjacking. However, it seems that everywhere Blatche goes, trouble finds him. He has been arrested on numerous reckless driving charges and tried to woo a prostitute in 2007. This is not the kind of person the Nets should be employing if they want to be a first class organization.
However, one must expect the worst but hope for the best. Blatche could redeem himself in Brooklyn. Already, he has been seen in the best shape of his life, a profound achievement for someone who has been known to come into training camp looking like a “Biggest Loser” Contestant. Never in Blatche’s career has he been on a team this good, and with veteran role models to look up to such as Deron Williams and Joe Johnson. Andray was on Wizards squads marred with players frequently running into the law, with the most notable incident being Gilbert Arenas bring guns into the a Wizards’ locker room. Finally, Andray has gotten himself out of a destrutcive locker room and into a competitive, positive environment.
If Blatche can learn from vets like Willams and Johnson, he could be a very valuable player for the Nets. Two seasons ago, he did average 16.8 points and 8.2 rebounds with a PER well above league average. This man does have some special ability and potential that he has displayed in flashes in the NBA. However, it is highly likely his conditioning goes down or he finds himself in trouble once again. If this is the case, expect to see Blatche buried on the bench or released quickly, as his contract is not guaranteed. But, I think Blatche will get a chance to compete for minutes in training camp. If he is up to the challenge and is as motivated as he was at the beginning of the 2010-11 season, Billy King has found a diamond in the rough. Few big men have his finesse and ability around the perimeter. If he can stay in shape and out of trouble, Andray Blatche would immediately move up 3-4 spots in this rank and become a vital component of the Nets’ success this season and beyond. For now, his rank is 11, but this is a rank that could change for the better very quickly.