“Blatche did everything good there, and then…” - Mike Tirico
This quote came from ESPN’s Sunday night broadcast of the Brooklyn Nets-San Antonio Spurs game. I’m not even going to tell you what preceded this phrase because if you're reading this, you've watched enough Brooklyn basketball to know what kind of Blatche-led, Keystone Kops sequence occurred.
Andray Blatche came to the Nets an NBA pariah. He was a reclamation project in the highest order. In Washington, Blatche squandered a golden opportunity about as thoroughly and devastatingly as one can. It takes a lot for a skilled, healthy seven-footer to misbehave his way out of the league by 25, but Blatche came impressively close. Then the Nets came along and told Blatche to pack an overnight bag; he was coming to Brooklyn.
There were zero expectations and zero dollars guaranteed to Blatche. Immediately, this non-gamble paid off. Blatche was the crooked overlord of what was threatening to become a strong bench unit: The Blatche Mob. Through the first two months of the season, Blatche had a top 10 PER. Really think about that for a second. The dude almost wasn't going to play in the league this year, and then immediately vaulted into the penthouse with the other one percenters like LeBron and Durant and Chris Paul and Brooklyn's very own Brook Lopez. It was great and made it easy to chuckle at the cracks in his game that quickly began showing. No worry that he threw away another fast break by recklessly playing point-center, because he'll just make up for it by grabbing an offensive rebound and hitting his defender with an up-and-under from the heavens. In the beginning it was easy to sweep the mistakes under the rug with a quick #Baltche or some other ironic hashtag and move on.
But the highs are seeming to come less frequently than before and the lows more lazy and boneheaded. He's averaging lows across the board for the month of February. The beginning of the season seemed a promise that Blatche was turning a corner and learning to dress himself. The reality, though, may be that he just borrowed a suit for the job interview. But, even though he’s fallen off a bit, his PER is currently at 21.97, good enough for 16th in the league (one place above the now-injured Anderson Varejao, who was probably an all-star before getting hurt).
The answer to the riddle is this: Andray Blatche is a ratio. With him comes good and bad, near transcendence and utter hopelessness. These opposites jostle for position next to one another like two kids pushing their way to the front of the line for an ice cream truck. So far this season, he's been more good than bad, but recently the ratio is evening out.
The most appropriate Blatche stat, as always, is this: 0. Going into Wednesday night's game, Blatche’s Net48 -— a rough, but telling statistic found on 82games.com that shows the average +/- net points over a full game -- is zero. In other words, all the good he does on the court is cancelled out by the bad. Or the bad is cancelled out by the good.
However you want to frame it, the Zero Hero has thus far lived up to his name.
|Next: Keith Bogans|
Andray Blatche | Keith Bogans | MarShon Brooks | P.J. Carlesimo | Reggie Evans | Kris Humphries | Joe Johnson | Brook Lopez | Tornike Shengelia | Jerry Stackhouse | Tyshawn Taylor | Mirza Teletovic | Gerald Wallace | C.J. Watson | Deron Williams