Early in the season, I made a habit of loudly shouting “Blatche!” during the fourth quarter of games when the Wizards had a substantial lead, hoping to transform the prospect into a fan favorite victory cigar. Now that Antawn Jamison’s hurt, though, Eddie Jordan is seeing fit to give him some meaningful minutes (17 each against Toronto, LA, and Seattle) and he’s actually showing some promise instead of merely being “promising.” He still can’t play defense at all, however. Watching the Wizards over the past few season, I’d become more familiar than my 90s-Knicks-raised self would have thought possible with sub-par defensive performances, but Blatche is truly out of this world. He’s regularly out of place, seems to have trouble remembering which player he’s supposed to guard even during leisurely transitions, and he fouls constantly.
Speaking of young big men, ESPN The Magazine’s “NEXT” feature always puzzles me, but simply proclaiming Dwight Howard big man of the future strikes me as odd. What about Greg Oden? What about Andrew Bynum? Maybe Howard will be better than those guys at the end of the day, or maybe he won’t be, but it certainly doesn’t look like a sure thing in Howard’s favor, does it? The NBA may just be returning to the olden days when you could have more than one great center in the league at the same time.