There’s an old saying that goes something like this: Better to keep your mouth closed and be thought a fool than open it and remove all doubt. It’s been attributed to Abraham Lincoln, Mark Twain, Groucho Marx and Albert Einstein. Regardless, it’s pretty sage advice.
Well, over the period of a few hours last night, Wizards forward Andray Blatche removed all doubt.
Before the Wizards’ home opener, a 90-84 loss after holding a 21-point lead, Blatche took the microphone from the P.A. announcer courtside and addressed the Verizon Center crowd, introducing himself as “your captain” and went on to give a fairly innocuous greeting to the crowd, imploring their support this season. All well and good.
After the game, one in which he went 5-for-12 from the floor, managed to go to the line just once (1-for-2), and gather zero offensive rebounds, Blatche opened his mouth again, telling reporters, “I’ve been saying that since training camp — I need the ball in the paint,” Blatche said after the game. “I don’t want to be the pick-and-pop guy that I used to be, because it’s not working for me.”
He didn’t say, “Not working out for the team.” Not working for him personally.
To make sure his point was taken seriously, he took to Twitter after than, re-emphasizing his point. He said “I may have had a bad game but that’s cause I need the ball in the post not taking jump shots.” This, coming from a man two years ago (as Michael Lee of The Washington Post reminded us) who was suspended for his refusal to play in the paint.
And as if it were our fault his message got overblown or misconstrued, Blatche followed up today via Twitter with this gem:
Every body need to shut up I didn’t call out my coach or team mates I said I had a bad game need it n the post instead of jump shots
Well then. Thankfully for everybody, but mostly Blatche, the Wizards did not make the talkative forward available after practice today.
It’s precisely this kind of knuckleheadedness that continues to plague the Wizards. It would have been bad enough dealing with the aftermath of losing opening night in the fashion they did. But no one is really talking about that much today. No, we’re discussing Blatche and his big mouth.
This Wizards team has some respected, quality veterans on it, including Roger Mason Jr. and Maurice Evans, both vice presidents in the players’ union. But when your self-appointed captain goes around shooting his mouth off, it just adds to the perspective that the inmates are running the asylum in Wizards-land.
For his part, coach Flip Saunders today told reporters he “loved” hearing Blatche wanted the ball low. But he also pointed out that just because you get the ball at 17 feet you don’t have to shoot it from there.
Someday the Wizards are going to be a good basketball team again. There are times you can see it on the court, like the first 16 minutes or so of last night’s game. But you wonder if Blatche will ever “get it” and just bring his game every night and let his play do the talking.