When Andray Blatche signed with the Brooklyn Nets entering the 2012-13 season, it was an opportunity to prove that he still belonged in the league after being amnestied by the Washington Wizards for his antics.
After three head coaches and nearly two full seasons in Brooklyn, Blatche has not only assured onlookers of his talent level, but he’s also taken it a step further. Following two one-year contracts that provided him a predominantly backup role with the Nets, Blatche has shown that he’s worthy of being an NBA starter.
His numbers speak for themselves. This season, Blatche has averaged 11.3 points and 5.3 rebounds per game following a season in which he was good for 10.3 points and 5.1 boards. What makes these stats all the more impressive is the fact that he accumulated them in an average of about 22 minutes a night in 2013-14 and just 19 minutes last season.
One could only imagine the type of damage Blatche could do if given 30-33 minutes on a consistent basis. Defense is his weakness, however. If a team wants to make him a starter, they’d be better off playing him as an oversized power forward to make up for that deficiency in his game.
Blatche’s exceptional outside shooting and ball handling skills at about seven feet suggest that his scoring abilities shouldn’t diminish when dealing with the defensive capabilities of starters more often, so teams shouldn’t be too concerned when evaluating his potential within a first unit.
Self-discipline has allowed Blatche to demonstrate his abilities during these two years in Brooklyn, and that should lead to an increased role on some team next season.