June 9, 2014

The case for Andray Blatche

Andray Blatche, barring a presidential veto, is bound to be the newest naturalized Filipino. There have been questions on why not X player? Indeed, why not Kevin Love, or all-D-League-team winner Justin Hamilton?

Indeed, there are many questions, but we'd all have to  restrict ourselves into some criteria.
First, MVP's looking for next step after Marcus Douthit. Douthit is the best thing that had happened to the national team since Asi Taulava Allan Caidic. But Marcus is 34 already and if you want Gilas to win in Spain just once, they have to get that won't get injured. MVP is looking for the next step. Ergo, if Douthit, who wasn't in the NBA when he got "called up", was the first step, the next step would be tapping the services of a player currently playing in the NBA, So yeah, sorry Justin Hamilton, if NBA teams can't gamble on you, MVP won't.

Here comes Javale McGee. McGee could've been great. But he's injured right now, and SBP (MVP) can't afford the insurance after he signed a new contract. But McGee became our bridge to Blatche, via the Washington Bullets Wizards connection. Ergo, we arrived at Blatche.

But, why not a young kid? Blatche is 27. Why not someone younger? If you're young and in the NBA, you'd gamble on being called up by USA Basketball. After barging into the NBA, that's the next step. If you've crossed the quarter-century mark, you're still in the NBA, but team USA hasn't called, it's time to look for other options. That means, young NBA players, no matter how crappy, won't waste their chances on being called up by team USA to play for Gilas. So sorry, Jennette McCurdy's ex Andre Drummond, or should I say, sorry Gilas, Drummond's still hoping for a team USA call-up. So this effectively reduces our pool to someone "not old enough", as the young ones almost always won't entertain the thought playing for a team other than team USA.

So here's our criteria:
  • An NBA player
  • Can afford the insurance
  • Not old enough
  • Really tall
  • Can rebound
  • Willing and able to forego his US citizenship
Here's the problem with that criteria: you'd be restricting the pool of players into quite a tiny set. Now, for the kicker. I'm using stats starting at this point because stats don't lie.

Andray Blatche is off his second-best season, as long as you consult his PER. (Okay, okay. PER isn't the best metric by any means.) His best season? The season before this. Blatche's PER this season is 18.8; last season it was 21.9. A PER of 18.8, according to Wikipedia (HA HA) is "solid 2nd option", which he truly is at the Brooklyn Nets. (For comparison, LeBron's career PER is 27.79.)

So now, we have Blatche's PER. Apparently, that's what MVP's standards lie. Now, let's see other similar players who have somewhat similar performances last (actually, this) season:

(c/o Basketball Reference.)

In case you're wondering, the parameters:
  • 2013-14 regular season stats
  • Aged 18-30
  • Height of 6-9 to 7-7
  • Played forward or center
  • PER between 16 and 20
Again, PER isn't the best metric, but if you'd look at this list, Blatche is in pretty good company.  Serge Ibaka? David Lee? Chris "The Last Dinosaur" Bosh? Marc Gasol? Kim Kardashian's ex? Andrew Bogut? Kapitan Tiago "I made LeBron cramp up" Splitter? That's a pretty good list.

So, let's see our critetria:
  • An NBA player
    • Blatche is an NBA player.
  • Can afford the insurance
    • For now. If he signs a new contract, we'll see.
  • Not old enough
    • Blatche is 27. Douthit played until he's 34.
  • Really tall
    • Blatche is 6-11. 
  • Can rebound
    • Blatche has a career RPG of 5.4. This season's he grabbed 5.3 RPG. All in 22.2 MPG of action.
  • Willing and able to forego his US citizenship 
    • Looks like it.
Verdict: Blatche is a go. Noynoy, do something and don't veto this.

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