So last night, I sort of decided to write that Michael Vick thing on a whim. Which is cool, but it meant getting about two hours of sleep. Now, it's 4:00 and I'm ready to pass out. I've been spaced out for a solid two hours, I think.
Somewhere in there, the Wizards decided to sign Andray Blatche to a contract extension that really couldn't be more of a bargain from the team's perspective. Under the terms of the deal, Andray will make $30 million over the next five years. Depending on your familiarity with the NBA, that number either seems low or high.
A Wizards fan familiar with the league--and the absurd contracts tossed around on a regular basis--might think it's low. Not because Blatche really deserves more, but because he's got just the right mix of potential, size, and production to sucker some team into a $55 million deal. So getting him at $30 million seems like a steal.
A fan less familiar with the way the NBA works might look at that contract and say, "Wait a second. The Wizards were a terrible, terrible team when Blatche was their best player. Why get him for another five years?"
I fall into the second category here.
Yes, it's hard to kill the Wizards for signing Blatche to this contract. There's still a chance he could turn into something resembling a franchise cornerstone. If they could get him at this price, it's worth the risk. If he doesn't pan out, that's a highly tradeable contract. On the other hand...
He's entering his sixth season, and he's still one of the two most immature players on the roster. He can't guard 4s or 3s with any consistency. He's not "great" at doing anything on the basketball court. And he just broke a bone in his foot, which is always dangerous for big men.
Tom Ziller, probably my favorite hoops writer out there, loved the deal. He wrote: "Now, with drool-worthy rookie John Wall in place at the point guard position and a budding JaVale McGee at center, the Wizards have locked up another piece of their core for the long climb up."
But as long as Blatche is a piece of that core, there's a limit to how high they can climb.
Because you know how some guys have "It"? Where you can just see that they've got that extra gear. The sixth sense that separates good players from great players. You know what I mean?
Yeah, Andray has the exact opposite of that.
I hope I'm wrong, but I've watched him play for six years now. I've seen him bitch at the coaching staff, I've seen him mope on the bench, I've seen his triple double attempt, I watched him get abused this summer at the Goodman League, I've seen him half-ass his way through entire games, and through it all, Ernie Grunfeld has talked glowingly of him and his potential. No wonder: He's the only moderately successful draft pick Grunfeld has made with the Wizards.
But in the end, he's not a piece of the core the Wizards should be building around. With John Wall, they should be dreaming big, even if that means sacrificing some losses in the short term. But maybe I'm just really that tired, and I'm the one dreaming.