The Los Angeles Lakers Should Gamble On Andray Blatche

By Brendan Patel
Steve Mitchell - USA TODAY Sports
Steve Mitchell – USA TODAY Sports

It is likely that Andray Blatche will decline his player option and enter the offseason as an unrestricted free agent. Blatche is an extremely talented player who is just entering his prime, and has a lot to offer a team like the Los Angeles Lakers. He is skilled for a big man, and can play either the power forward or center position effectively. While he can be inconsistent, the Lakers need to gamble and try to sign the talented big man.

Blatche’s production can often times be frustrating for a team. He has the ability to average a double-double every night and be a presence down low on defense. He has a variety of moves and can even step out and hit a jumper. But his shooting numbers often fluctuate, and he does not show up to every game ready to play. He seems to forget about his teammates at certain points in the game, choosing to become the primary ball-handler at various moments. While this can disrupt the flow of an offense, it does display his skill set, and a strong coaching staff will be able to put that to good use.

Defensively, Blatche has great size and has the ability to alter shots in the paint. His biggest problem is effort, and he doesn’t put much energy into this side of the court. When he was younger, he did a great job blocking shots, especially as he received an increase in playing time. However, his defensive presence has declined and he doesn’t affect shots like he used to. His passion for defensive rebounds is also lacking, as opposed to the offensive end where he has no problem creating second chances for his team. That’s not to say that the ability isn’t there, as he can still provide a solid defense, but needs the right guidance.

While Blatche is clearly a risk, the Lakers will need to gamble if they want to field a competitive team next year. Blatche will still be receiving payments after being amnestied a couple of years ago, so may take a smaller contract in hopes of landing a larger, long-term one in the near future. This could work well in the Lakers favor, as it allows them to save money for other free agents while giving Blatche a chance to prove himself.

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