The New Kwame Brown?
While I always thought that Michael Jordan almost single-handedly derailed the career of Kwame Brown, it doesn't seem like the Wizards' latest high school prodigy is faring much better. Aundray Blatche has been shot and now arrested on solicitation charges and apparently isn't doing much with his money.
As frustrating and dumb as Gerald Green seemed, he probably looks like a rocket scientist compared to Blatche. Consider this blurb from the Washington Post.
Blatche is a 6-foot-11, 20-year old with no ceiling to his game. From my experience, he's also a good guy. If he were a true knucklehead, I'd say so. He's not. But he is extremely naive and he's displayed a stunning lack of judgement which is not all that amazing considering his age. He's rolled through money (I heard from a good source that the kid was sleeping at Verizon Center for several nights as rookie because he couldn't pay rent), he's out on every single road trip whether there's a game the next night or not and he obviously doesn't have a good read on females. There's a reason why the guy was the MVP of Michael Jordan's high school/prep school all star showcase but still fell to the second round, trust me.
I'm reminded of an episode from last season. We were in Miami. Pregame. Jamison walks into the lockeroom fresh from a round of lifting weights and getting up extra shots. He spots Andray sitting in front of his locker stall munching down a plate of nachos and generally sporting the look of a guy getting ready to watch a game rather than play in one.
Antawn, looking down at Andray: "You have a $16 million contract already or did I miss something?"
Andray offers a blank expression but knows where this is going
Antawn: "You came over on the second bus right? I've never come over on the second bus. I'm a vet but I always come over on the first bus, don't I?"
(Translation: Teams typically roll from the team hotel to the arena in two groups. The first group usually consists of guys who want to get settled early, take extra shots when the court isn't so full and lift weights. Jamison is always on the first bus)
Andray: "I got extra shots up at shootaround."
Bottom line: every person in that lockeroom and every person in that front office understands that Andray Blatche has the potential to be a terrific basketball player. At the same time, they all have questions about his desire, work ethic, maturity level and overall approach to the opportunity that is sitting right in front of his face. I had a conversation about Andray with a player recently and the player nailed it: "He's wild with the money he has now so what's going to happen if you give that guy millions? I have no idea what's going to happen but it's gonna be interesting because someone is going to pay him. God don't make 6-11 with those skills too often." Antawn just shook his head and started getting ready for the game.
The one thing that confuses me is the author calling Blatche naive (and basically a lazy idiot) but not a "knucklehead". What does one have to do to earn knucklehead status? Oh wait, the Post is in D.C. Being naive is probably seen as almost virtuous compared to the actions and attitudes of the politicos around there.