Wednesday, February 15th, 2012...11:04 PM

Oh Captain! My Captain!

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Prior to the start of this season, former Washington Wizards head basketball coach Flip Saunders chose Andray Blatche to be the captain of his team.  Yes,  that Andray Blatche who’s name was used in a promotion for “Lap Dance Tuesdays” at a strip club in Miami.  The same Andray Blatche who was benched (albeit briefly) last season for insubordination.  The same Andray Blatche who had the honor of having his shoe defecated in by former teammate Gilbert Arenas (ok that last one’s more of a knock on Arenas than Blatche but you get the point).

Well, things didn’t turn out well for Saunders, as he was fired after the Wizards won only 2 of their first 17 games.  This came as a surprise to no one, except for maybe Wizards GM Ernie Grunfeld who, in 2010 signed Blatche to a 5 year, $35million contract extension.  For years Grunfeld and the rest of the Wizards brass have pointed to Blatche’s ability to finish the season strongly as an excuse to keep trotting him out there on a nightly basis.  In 2011 Blatche posted career bests in points (16.8/gm), rebounds (8.3) and assists (2.3).  This is a byproduct two things, the first one being that Blatche would come into the season out of shape, and started the season very slowly, eventually working his way into playing shape by the end.  But the most important thing to keep in mind when looking at Blatche’s stats is that he played on a team who’s roster could be beaten by Paul VI High School.  Aside from John Wall, there was no one else on the team who was a legitimate scoring threat, nor was there anyone who commanded the ball nearly as much as Blatche did.

The start to this season was no different than the others for Blatche.  After the first game, a 90-84 loss to the New Jersey Nets, “Dray” took to twitter to vent his frustrations, telling fans who were critical of him to “shut up.”  The next 20 games weren’t the nicest to Dray either, where the Wizards captain only had one game which he score more than 20 points, and only three games where he grabbed 10 or more rebounds.

Then, seemingly by the grace of God himself, Andray strained his calf, preventing him from playing for 3-5 weeks.  One would think that the loss of their leader would be such a burden on the Wizards that they would never play a competitive game, but in fact it was quite the opposite.  In the 22 games Blatche played, the Wizards’ winning percentage was 0.133%, whereas a Blatche-less Wizards team has now won 3 out of 8 games, resulting in a winning percentage of 0.385%.  In layman’s terms, the Wiz’ winning percentage has nearly tripled in Dray’s absence.

Normally I am not one to root for players to get injured, but in this case I can make an exception.

By Ricky Bassett


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