Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Blatche Relishes Savior Role

WASHINGTON, April 10 — Andray Blatche, the infinitely talented and precociously young Wizards Big Man is poised to return from a 7-game hiatus and resume his quest to become the answer to all Wiz-related problems. Eager to uplift a Wizards team that has been a bit less than spectacular, Blatche ought to be the missing piece that will push the Wizards over the line from "gutty" to "dangerous" and will have hundreds of computer-based Canadians shaking in their mooseskin caps.

After a knee sprain against the Clippers a few weeks back, Blatche—who has suffered a gunshot wound, the scorn of Eddie Jordan, a bench seat next to Michael Ruffin, and Roanoke, Virginia in his biblical path to Wizards greatness—is ready to finally fullfill his promise and be the big man the Wizards and their growing legion of pundits so desire. Having assumed the starting role of Caron Butler during the stretch when Butler was injured in February, Blatche averaged double-digit points and rebounds. He has surpassed his career high twice, once in non-garbage time, and he is fast becoming a fan favorite.

Drafted as a project forward from high-school whose lone weakness was "attitude," Blatche has taken every limited Eddie Jordan-owned opportunity presented to him and used it to blossom into a dirty-working, yet offensively gifted power forward, instead of a whiney, feminine, child-man, who buckles under the 2 minute per game average. Check the humility:
"Patience is key with everything" said Blatche, who is averaging 3.8 points and
3.5 rebounds in 12 minutes. "I've been through it before with not playing so I
already have the mind-set that I need to be patient, wait for my knee to get
better. So I'm just coming out with the attitude that I need to play hard and
work hard."
The Wizards thankfully ignored the red flags that may have propped up in the previous high-school big man whose lone weakness was attitude, the braintrust in Chinatown were this time able to determine that this power forward project would be less likely to throw confections down instead of dunks. Encased in his prodigiously lanky 7-foot frame, is the ball-handling of an even lankier Donnell Taylor, the jump shooting of a less awkward Antawn Jamison, the shot blocking of a more motivated Brendan Haywood and the teeth of a British sailor.

While many fans have become faithful of all five of their starting lineup players, Blatche's increasing contributions ought to pierce that fine brilliant set of individuals and catapult him into the limelight. I liken the situation to Willis Reed coming off the bench for the Knicks back in the day, except this time, the fate of an entire country rests on the big man's sharply angled shoulders.

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