The latest routine in the comedy show that has become the Wizards' season is the booing of Andray Blatche during introductions to the OKC game. Many wicked pixels have been aimed straight at the fans who have dared to express their displeasure at Dray. Classless, some say.
I can't afford to go to games, but I can assure you I applaud the booers in spirit from the comfort of my couch. And I think they're perfectly justified in their preemptive jeers and raspberries. I groan inwardly (sometimes outwardly) every time Andray moves off the bench to the scorer's table. Critics, unite! Onward, ho!
Why am I so mean? It's a fair question. The answer is simple: Because Andray Blatche doesn't give a rip about my favorite team. And it's been evident for six depressing years.
His off-court indiscretions could, at one time, have been excused as the excesses of a young, wildly rich man with more money than wisdom. Youth and gallons of green will do that to a fella.
It's the on-court indifference to which I object. Blatche is the ultimate loafer, the ultimate coaster: He's the kid who was smarter than everyone else in class, and skated by with C's because it was easier. Blatche is more skilled, more talented, than all our big men put together. And because he can, he gets by doing the absolute minimum on the hardwood.
Why does he hang around the perimeter, dribble the air out of the ball, and launch ridiculous fallaway jumpers? Because it's *easier* than going inside and putting up with the banging in there. It takes less energy than driving to the hoop and possibly getting hit.
In fact, I've never seen a big man more terrified of the low block. After all, it takes more effort down amongst the trees; going one-on-one is infinitely easier than fighting for rebounding position. And why dunk when you can lay it softly off the backboard? Sure, a lot more shots get blocked that way, but, dont'cha know, dunking is hard, man!
What isn't hard, however, is making a big show of how improved you are, how much you've changed. Right, 7-Day? Or is it 1-in-5 (games in which you put forth effort), as one scout accurately said? Oh, you'll work like a dog when you get close to that triple-dub. It's those in-between games that are proving to be the problem.
How many times has Dray re-committed himself to better conditioning? Or to wanting to play inside? You know, that non pick-and-pop stuff you wanted so desperately. Give it to the big dog in the post! That's where you want the rock! Until the next game started, and you once again wandered around the perimeter like the Israelites in the desert.
The problem is that those of us who watch the Wizards regularly can't help but notice that Blatche is in his seventh year of sauntering up and down the court. Of watching helplessly as his man blows by him or backs him down. Of saying one thing and doing another. Fool us six times...
That's why Blatche deserves to be booed before he steps onto the court. It's because we know that he won't give 100%, or 90%, or 80%, or... We know he'll never get in condition during the offseason so he's not huffing and puffing after running the court for 10 minutes. We know he'll talk Manute Bol-big and play Muggsy Bogues-small.
As fans, we justifiably don't like players who we're sure won't give maximum effort for their $8 million. Dray hurts my team with his lazy attitude, his transparent attempts to curry favor with his pronouncements going into each season, his wasting of his ginormous talent -- a talent that could help my team greatly if it were applied with consistent vigor.
That's why I'll boo Blatche when he's introduced. I'll forgive mistakes and learning curves and lack of talent, if that player actually gives a crap and plays hard. But Blatche has stolen money and playing time from MY team for six-plus seasons now. Sorry, but I don't cheer thieves.