Friday , Aug , 03 , 2007 Oly Sandor

Washington Wizards Andray Blatche: Another Of The NBA’s Too Fast, Too Furious

Every week, a young Hollywood star gets arrested for breaking the law. And every few weeks, a young NBA star gets in trouble for his indiscretions.
The common denominators between young Hollywood and the young NBA: too much money, too much privilege, and too many enablers in the posse. This seems to be the case with Blatche, the Wizards forward who was arrested on charges of soliciting an undercover prostitute on Wednesday night …

The Associated Press reports on Andray Blatche’s arrest:

Washington Wizards forward Andray Blatche, a restricted free agent, was arrested Thursday on sexual solicitation charges.

Blatche and a man identified in court documents as Gregory Palmer tried to solicit sex from an undercover police officer, according to charging documents.

The 20-year-old Blatche appeared Thursday in District of Columbia Superior Court and was released on his own recognizance, court spokeswoman Marie Robertson said.  He also was wanted for failure to appear on a charge of driving without a license, stemming from an October 2006 arrest, according to court documents.

My Quick Take: Every week, a young Hollywood star gets arrested for breaking the law.  And every few weeks, a young NBA star gets in trouble for his indiscretions.

The common denominators between young Hollywood and the young NBA: too much money, too much privilege, and too many enablers in the posse. This seems to be the case with Blatche, the Wizards forward who was arrested on charges of soliciting an undercover prostitute on Wednesday night.

Ivan Carter covers the Wizards for the Washington Post. Carter reports that Washington was about to sign Blatche to a five year, 13 million dollar extension. But the team had concerns:

It’s no secret in Verizon Center circles that Dre Day enjoys the night life – even after getting lucky two years ago when some crafty females suckered him and Peter John Ramos into getting jacked by two thugs in the early morning hours. Dre lived after getting shot but it’s hard to tell whether he’s really learned anything.

That said, Blatche is a 6-foot-11, 20-year old with no ceiling to his game. From my experience, he’s also a good guy. If he were a true knucklehead, I’d say so. He’s not. But he is extremely naive and he’s displayed a stunning lack of judgement which is not all that amazing considering his age. He’s rolled through money (I heard from a good source that the kid was sleeping at Verizon Center for several nights as rookie because he couldn’t pay rent), he’s out on every single road trip whether there’s a game the next night or not and he obviously doesn’t have a good read on females. There’s a reason why the guy was the MVP of Michael Jordan’s high school/prep school all star showcase but still fell to the second round, trust me.

The Wizards aren’t at fault for this situation. Over the past few years, the front office and several veterans had pulled Blatche aside to offer advice.

The kid refused to listen, turning a deaf ear to any words of wisdom. Apparently, Blatche isn’t a bad person, just misguided. He’s surrounded by a group of yes-men, who don’t have his best interests at heart and encourage destructive decisions.

Nobody knows if Washington will rescind their contract offer. For Blatche, it doesn’t matter. He’s a skilled big man. Other NBA teams will pay for his services. And that, right there, is the entire problem.

Second chances without repercussions only leads to more impulsive behavior. Don’t get it twisted. NBA players are humans. They make mistakes. Most of their mistakes aren’t punishable by death or a life sentence in Siberia. Some make the most of their second-chance, while others take advantage of teams always willing to offer-up a third, fourth, and fifth chance.

Did Eddie Griffin learn from his screw-ups? What about J.R. Rider? Did he modify his behavior after getting in trouble? Blatche didn’t change his ways after getting shot. What’s getting arrested going to do to him?

The Wizards have to reach this guy-whether they re-sign him is really irrelevant. Basketball is secondary. Blatche, nice guy or not, is out of control and getting into Eddie Griffin-J.R. Rider territory. He needs real help instead of being surrounded by enablers and the business of basketball.

Click here to read and subscribe to Oly Sandor’s NBA Blog.