I've been watching the Wizards team for the last 7 games, wondering what it is I see that is so different from the team before the trades. Yes, I see more "energy" - whatever that means.... That term (energy) is hard to put into words, but I can sure see it on the court.
The players seem to be setting better screens, making crisper cuts, and running fewer isolations; In other words, they're trusting the Offense. There's less dribbling, looking for a one-on-one opportunities and more passing and cutting. It seems like there are more (and better) shots taken deep in the shot clock than before the trades.
But there's something else that I couldn't put my finger on until Mike wrote about how Andray Blatche is hitting his shots. But it's not just about Blatche hitting shots, but WHERE he's taking those shots; and the incredible rate he's making them.
Andray is one player from the old roster that has really accepted the opportunity and stepped up to the challenge.
More after the jump.Andray Blatche, after taking over the starting Power Foreward duties for last 7 games, is shooting 56.4%. If Andray had been doing that all year, it would put him in the top 10 in the League in shooting percentage.
Even better, it's the KINDS of shots that Andray has been taking that makes a big difference. Over 70% of Andray's shots are from 15 feet in; and he's making an excellent 61.2% of those shots. That is a huge difference from the kinds of shots and the percentages that All-Star Antawn Jamison was putting up for the Wizards. Jamison shot 47.5% of his shots from 16-feet out; and was making only 35.9% from that range (33.5% from the 3-point line).
The look and feel of this team has gone from an outside-oriented team, to a team that takes and makes more inside shots; or rather, closer shots.
The other thing that has struck me is the efficiency with which Blatche is scoring. Let's take a look at Mike's shot locations chart (via HoopData) but add a line for just the last 7 games - the games where Andray has been the Starter.
Wow. Those are incredibly efficient shooting numbers. I wouldn't worry about the 3-point percentage.... he's only taken 6 in 7 games; and remember, 70% of Andray's shots are coming from 15 feet and in.
The "new" Andray Blatche is averaging 38.4 minutes, 26.6 points, 11.7 rebounds, and 3.4 assists per game.
The increase in Blatche's scoring cannot only be attributed to getting more minutes or more shots - but also to a dynamic change in his shooting efficiency. Further, the increase in stats is not only confined to his scoring; his rebound rate and assist rate have gone up, with a corresponding drop in foul rate. NOT just his rebounds per game, but his rebound rate has jumped. "Old" Andray rebounded at a rate of 9.1 per 40 minutes - the "new" Andray is rebounding at a rate of 12.2 per 40 minutes (which puts him in Brendan Haywood/Chris Bosh/David Lee territory).
The doubter in me keeps saying "it's only been 3 games"... it's only been 5 games..... it's only been 7 games"... just wait, he'll revert to the "old" Andray Blatche with more pedestrian shooting percentages any day now - - - - But the fan in me says, that he's been showing us these flashes of incredible potential for three years. What if this "new" Andray Blatche is the "real" Andray Blatche?