Huffing and Puffing Andray Blatche Underperformed in Japan
Unconditioned Andray Blatche is still better than any big man we have in the Gilas Pilipinas roster and maybe in all of FIBA Asia teams front court. There's no doubt that the 6'11 and 31-year-old former NBA player has talent. He is one of the few players who can play inside and outside, but lately, his body conditioning maybe holding him back.
In the game against Japan, he was huffing and puffing for air as he tries to catch up on the fast-paced game. Don't get us wrong, Blatche was still dominant in a way as he showed flashes of his skills on both ends of the court. He scored a total of 13 points, grabbed 12 rebounds, dished out 5 assists and blocked three shots. Overall, it's a good performance if you are a local player but Andray Blatche is expected to do a lot more.
Andray Blatche and the Gilas Pilipinas escaped with the win against the resilient Japanese, so we should all celebrate but there are just a number of reasons why we should be worried especially with Andray Blatche.
5 Alarming Reasons Why We Should Worry About Andray Blatche
1. Low Field Goal Percentage - at (4/11) 36% FG, Andray Blatche did not shoot well against Japan. He attempted more shots from the outside than leveraging his size and get some points inside. He attempted 5 total shots inside the arc and made just two of them. This is not the kind of scoring output we need from a naturalized player.
2. Free Throw Woes - (3/7) 42.9%, With no one guarding you, a free throw should have been easier to hit but Andray Blatche missed 4 of them as he becomes the only Gilas Player to shoot below 50% from the charity line. With everyone else shooting well from the line, Blatche dragged the team's free throw percentage to 72%.
3. Zero Offensive Rebound - With Andray Blatche roaming outside the arc on offense, there simply little to no chance that he would get an offensive rebound, in fact, he did not get any against Japan. His counterpart, on the other hand, Brown, got 6 of them. Offensive rebounds are very important as it provides the team with a second opportunity to score.
4. Six Turnovers - Sloppy Dray! Of course, he gets to hold the ball in most possessions and in some cases, he even acts as a point guard. It may be a strategy but Blatche has not taken care of the ball well against Japan. He has the highest turnovers of the game with 6.
5. Big Belly Blatche - Yes we can all argue that he is still good but no one can argue that he is in bad shape. He could have been better only if he weighed a bit lighter. With his big belly very much visible, he dragged himself on most occasions while gasping for air. This is one of the factors why his overall performance suffered.
Conclusion: Andray Blatche can't get back into shape in just two days. There is just no way he could shed that many pounds but while he isn't the same Blatche we had during the World Cup physically, he is still the same Blatche inside and his skills and familiarity with the team will play a big role in the coming game.
With the game against Taiwan just two days away, Andray Blatche needs to pace himself inside the court. We know that he will be getting 30+ minutes again and we are hoping that he would assert himself more inside offensively and just have the point guards bring the ball up, so he could save his energy for bigger things.