For most of the country the main headline coming out of the Washington Wizards’ first game of the season was the boos directed towards ex-Kardashian Kris Humphries. I feel bad for NBA fans and coaches who probably have no idea why Humphries is the most hated person in the league.
For DC and the rest of Wizards Nation, they saw yet another game slip through Washington’s hands as the Wiz went from a 37-16 lead over the Nets to a 84-90 defeat Monday night. The main Wizards headlines consisted of Andray Blatche being Andray Blatche in the locker room. After kicking off the game by addressing the crowd as the team’s “captain”, he ended the night addressing reporters in the locker room with complaints about the play-calling, telling reporters and Twitter that he needs the ball in the paint.
This isn’t the start the Wizards were looking for. Not only are fans already writing off the team as the one that hasn’t won more than 26 games in the past three years- but they are also growing tired of Blatche, who the team signed to a five-year extension back in September 2010. As for Blatche, he has one thing to say to the fans and media: shut up.
After the Wizards’ tough loss to New Jersey, we are left with three questions:
How did the Wizards lose such a big lead in the first half?
The Wizards roared out of the gate with causing two New Jersey turnovers and putting up eight unanswered points. There was a lot of spot-up shooting from both sides, except the Nets were ice cold when it came to scoring. Nets lead scorer Deron Williams ended the night with 23 points but started the game 1-6 in the first quarter.
In the second half the Nets came out of the locker room and made the adjustments needed to win. They ran more pick & roll and screen plays while Deron Williams got out of his funk and S-cut his way around the Wizards. The Nets also created chances from the boards, out-rebounding Washington 58-39.
What happened to John Wall?
It was a tough night for Wall, who went 3-13 with four turnovers. His transition game wasn’t there, all four of his turnovers occurred when he was taking the ball down the court. Also Wall’s pick and roll game was rather shaky. According to Synergy Sports, he was only 1-7 shooting when playing off the pick and roll. Hopefully Wall’s ability to finish while racing down the court was just subject to opening night jitters.
Is Andray Blatche right about needing the ball in the paint?
Monday night Blatche went 5-13 from the field, with three of his five field goals happening via posting-up or cutting to the basket. I can see why Blatche would think he needs the ball in the paint.
However Blatche is terrible in the post. According to Hoopdata, Blatche has been getting more attempts at the rim and from 3-9 ft from the basket, however last year he only made 24.5% of those 3-9 footers. Syngery also says Blatche completed 36.4% attempts while posting-up last year. That’s worse than situations where he just shot the ball spot-up (44.9%).
If Blatche wants the ball in the paint, perhaps he should actually be good in the paint.
Tonight the Wizards play the Hawks in Atalanta. Personally I think there’s a lot to be excited about this season, especially with John Wall. It’s too bad knuckleheads like Andray Blatche have to go and leave a sour taste in the mouths of the fans.