The Andray Blatche Dilemma
Andray Blatche burst onto the scene like a shooting star after Wizards trades moved him to the top of the depth chart. A couple of weeks ago I joked that his name should be changed to "LeBr-Andray" after he averaged 28 points, 13 boards, four assists, two blocks and two steals per game for a week. I had him on my bench in my main league, and his emergence has been like suddenly adding another first round pick to my squad. There's only one problem: A little voice in my head keeps screaming that I should trade him.
On the surface that doesn't seem right. After all, he has maintained averages of 23 points, 10 boards, three assists, a block and a steal on great shooting percentages for the last month to earn a top-25 ranking in the Y! player rater. And some of that includes time before the trades, back when Blatche was just a backup with upside. And he's just coming off of a 23-point/nine-rebound effort against the Celtics, one of the best defensive front lines in the league. That game should have come as a relief to me.
But it didn't.
My eyes keep getting drawn to the names of the teams against whom Blatche has really exploded. He gave 33 points and 13 boards to the Timberwolves. Smashed the Noah-less Bulls for 25 and 11. And embarrassed the wonderful Knicks and Nets front lines for a combined 62 points, 33 boards, 10 assists and eight steals/blocks.
But in the last week, when he's faced the Bucks twice and the Celtics once? He's averaged 18 points, eight boards, two assists, three turnovers, 46 percent shooting from the field and 62 percent from the line. Solid numbers still, but good for only a Y! ranking of 179th. A far cry from the prime Shaq-like numbers he posted against the cupcakes. And a quick glance at the Bucks' remaining schedule shows an awful lot of "Rockets", "Hawks" and "Magic" type opponents in coming weeks with very few doughnuts to be found.
And thus, my dilemma. The trade deadlines in most leagues are either coming up in the next week or have already passed. In the league where I have Blatche, the deadline is Thursday. Initially I was getting offers like Channing Frye for Blatche that were easy to turn down. But right now I've got a Kevin Garnett for Blatche offer sitting in my inbox, tempting me. The Garnett whose value is definitely down from years past, but who Yahoo! also ranks 33rd for the season and 35th for the last week (by average) despite his 0-for-7 game on Sunday. He will not score with Blatche from here on, but he will give everything else that Blatche does, and he has been ramping up in recent weeks.
In the end I don't think I will make this swap. Regardless of the opponent, Blatche has shown he can produce video game numbers and is center eligible. Both of those have value, so at the least I would hope I could leverage a better offer. But I don't say no easily because, as I said, something in me is nervous about relying on Blatche to keep it up against good defenses that now have his scouting report. One way or another, I expect I'll end up banking his potential and swapping it out for something a bit more proven, even if it comes at the expense of some upside. Blatche right now is found money, a player I drafted for 10 cents that is now worth a dollar. But I think I'll sleep better if I swap him out for a sure-fire 85 cents.
Situations to Watch and Quick Hits
Quentin Richardson (26% owned): Richardson is a streaky player, and over the last few games he has been in the zone. He likely won't hold that for the rest of the season so he would strictly be a hot pick to drop at the first sign that the ride is over. But anyone that can average more than 20 points, almost eight boards, almost five treys and more than two steals over a week is worth a look.
Jonas Jerebko (19% owned): Jerebko has been playing solid basketball of late, averaging a double-double with a trey over his last four games.
Anthony Tolliver (16% owned): With Andris Biedrins (groin) likely done for the year, Tolliver should continue to get solid minutes. He turned in a 26-minute clunker on Monday, but before that he had averaged well over 33 minutes played with 13 points, seven boards and more than two treys in his previous five games
Rodrique Beaubois (15% owned): With Jason Terry recovering from face surgery, Beaubois will have to have more weeks like this one, in which he averaged 21 points a game.
Reggie Williams (not yet in the system): Williams is the latest unknown player to be inserted into the Warriors lineup and explode, having posted 28 points with six assists and two steals on Monday. He was just signed for the team last week and had only four NBA games under his belt before the eruption. Only grab him if you don't have to give up a productive player, though, since with the Warriors you never know when the playing time will evaporate.
Article first appeared 3/9/10