Andray Blatche Draft Capsule
VITALS: 6-11, 235, South Kent Prep (Connecticut)
OVERVIEW: Despite not playing organized basketball until high school, Blatche averaged 27.5 points, 16.0 rebounds and 6.0 blocks as South Kent posted a 32-9 record this season. He was one of 10 finalists for the presitigous Naismith Award, which is given to the nation’s top high school player. Blatche was named co-MVP at the Jordan Classic, recording game highs in both points (26) and rebounds (16). Won New York state championship while playing as a sophomore at Henninger High School in Syracuse.
LIKELY DRAFT POSITION: Blatche has worked out for most of the teams in the bottom half of the first round. He is a tantalizing prospect because of what he could develop into more than what he can deliver now. Teams like Indiana (17), Memphis (19) and Phoenix (21) have had success taking and waiting on young players in the past and may have the nerve to do so again.
COMPARATIVE UPSIDE: Antoine Walker
COMPARATIVE DOWNSIDE: Jonathan Bender
ROLE PROJECTION: Watch and learn now; later, play both forward spots.
POSITIVES: Blatche has the athletic characteristics to be a scorer and shot-blocker, someone who can defend different positions. He is active, runs the court like a small forward and has a soft shooting touch. He has improved rapidly and seems to be intense and committed to becoming a great player. He shows the capacity to eventually be a secondary ballhandler, someone who can help the guards against pressure.
SHORTCOMINGS: He’s thin, he’s wiry, he’s a kid. Blatche represents the dilemma for teams who have to judge the potential of high school hotshots. He has a lot of intriguing tools that make him a player to consider, but how long will it take before he can become a significant part of your rotation? A few years ago, Blatche would have been in the top 10. Now, teams are being a bit more circumspect about drafting players who are years away from contributing.