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Blatche shares heartache, regret in wake of Flip Saunders' death


Blatche shares heartache, regret in wake of Flip Saunders' death

Regret is a word often mentioned when it comes to Andray Blatche, who spent the first seven seasons of his nine-year NBA career with the Wizards.

There's regret from the Wizards that they drafted the 19-year-old in 2005 out of high school, though his talent made the 6-11 forward a steal late in the second round. 

There's regret that he was given a $35 million extension. There should be regret that Blatche tried to purposefully miss shots to pad his stats so he could get his first triple-double, and his visible anger at a teammate for not letting him get one more rebound was disgraceful.

There should be regret over getting into a fight with a teammate at a D.C. nightclub and soliciting a prostitute that led to his arrest. There has to be regret about him hosting a supposed "grand finale" party as the Wizards were finishing the season with the league's second-worst record. You get the picture. 

But there's also regret from Blatche about the way he treated the coaching staff in Washington, namely Flip Saunders, who passed away at age 60 on Sunday. The one quote that comes to mind -- told to me by a coach on Saunders' staff at the time -- was so vile and disrespectful (an expletive followed by a racial epithet) I can't even paraphrase it. 

Now, none of these transgressions matter. Blatche, 29, and out of the NBA after playing two years with the Brooklyn Nets and playing overseas, is among the NBA horde mourning Saunders' shocking loss to lymphoma in his second stint with the Minnesota Timberwolves.

He shared an Instagram message to his late former coach that appears genuine and hopefully it means he himself is on a better path. 

No this is unreal a dint n my heart for sure we hardly seen eye to eye n person because I was young and prideful but behind closed doors I would tell everyone he was one of my favorite coaches I'm so sad even mad I didn't get the chance to tell him wat he really did for me 452/452 twist my fav plays will forever be drilled n my head my prayers go to your family I'm so sorry

A photo posted by Andray Blatche (@draylive) on Oct 25, 2015 at 5:40pm PDT

After all, if you're the same person as a grown man that you were as a teenager, you're a fool because you've learned absolutely nothing. And Blatche, despite a litany of foolishness in Washington, is at least better for having had Flip Saunders as his coach. 

RELATED: Outpouring of NBA support follows news of Saunders' death

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Wizards' first pre-draft workout to feature Diallo of Kentucky, local star from UMBC


Wizards' first pre-draft workout to feature Diallo of Kentucky, local star from UMBC

The Washington Wizards will hold their first pre-draft workout on Tuesday at Capital One Arena and the group of six players features some familiar names. 

Included in the mix is guard Jairus Lyles, who starred for the Unversity of Maryland-Baltimore County and helped lead them as a 16-seed over top-ranked Virginia in the NCAA Tournament. It was the first 16-over-a-1 upset in the tournament's history.

Here are the six players with some notes on each one...

Chris Chiozza, guard, Florida (6-0, 175)

Chiozza played four years at Florida and finished as the school's all-time assists leader. He averaged 11.1 points, 6.1 assists and 1.9 steals per game as a senior.

Hamidou Diallo, guard, Kentucky (6-5, 198)

Diallo redshirted in 2016-17 and played one season for the Wildcats. He averaged 10.0 points and 3.6 rebounds while shooting 45.8 percent from the field. Diallo measured 6-foot-6 with shoes at the combine and boasts a 7-foot wingspan.

Tiwian Kendley, guard, Morgan State (6-5, 190)

Kendly was a big-time scorer at Morgan St., averaging 21.0 points as a redshirt junior and 26.1 points as a senior. He took a lot of shots, however, averaging 18.2 field goal attempts on 45.3 percent from the field this past season. Kendley starred at Eleanor Roosevelt High School in Maryland before joining the college ranks, first at Lamar Community College.

Jairus Lyles, guard, UMBC (6-2, 175)

Lyles was the leading scorer for the Retrievers this past season as they became the biggest underdog Cinderella in NCAA history. He averaged 20.2 points and shot 39.0 percent from three on 6.1 attempts. Lyles began his college career at VCU and played high school ball at nearby DeMatha.

Doral Moore, center, Wake Forest (7-1, 280)

A three-year player at Wake Forest, Moore had a breakout season as a junior with averages of 11.1 points, 9.4 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game. Moore played with Sixers star Ben Simmons in high school.

Ray Spalding, forward, Louisville (6-10, 215)

Spalding played three years at Louisville and averaged 12.3 points, 8.7 rebounds, 1.7 blocks and 1.5 steals per game as a junior. He posted a 7-5 wingspan at the NBA Combine. Spalding played with Jazz star Donovan Mitchell in college. 

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2017-18 Wizards roster review: Mike Scott

2017-18 Wizards roster review: Mike Scott

To wrap up the 2017-18 season, we are looking at each player on the Wizards' roster. Today, we evaluate Mike Scott's season...

Player: Mike Scott

Position: Power forward

Age: 29

2017-18 salary: $1.7 million

2017-18 stats: 76 G, 18.5 mpg, 8.8 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 1.1 apg, 0.3 spg, 0.1 bpg, 52.7 FG%, 40.5 3P%, 65.8 FT%, 59.0 eFG%, 109 ORtg, 111 DRtg

Best game: 12/9 at Clippers - 22 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, 9-for-11 FG, 3-for-4 3PT, 28 minutes

Season review: The 2017-18 Wizards season was full of unpredictability and the most positive surprise had to be the comeback of Mike Scott.

The Wizards signed Scott to a veteran minimum contract last offseason after a workout at Capital One Arena. This came just months after he had felony drug charges dropped in the state of Georgia, he lost 25 pounds and rehabbed a leg injury. That spring he had wondered, and justifiably, if his NBA career was over.

Scott overcame all of those odds to not only return to the NBA, but re-establish himself as a productive player off the bench. No one was more consistent start-to-finish in the Wizards' second unit than Scott was.

Scott earned a significant role in head coach Scott Brooks' rotation out of the preseason and stayed there. He reached double-figures in 31 of his 76 games, second only to Kelly Oubre, Jr. on the Wizards. 

Scott's primary value was on offense. He scored inside and out and got his points with remarkable efficiency. He led the Wizards and was tied for 11th in the NBA in effective field-goal percentage. He was second on Washington in field goal percentage and third in three-point percentage. 

Scott closed the season strong, reaching double-figures in scoring in seven of the last nine regular season games. He carried that over into the playoffs with 46 points through their first three games against the Raptors. 

Now comes the question of how much money Scott earned himself with his comeback year and whether the Wizards can afford keeping him. Since they are in the luxury tax, they will have little money to spend this summer. 

The way to keep Scott would be to use the remainder of their taxpayer mid-level exception, but that figures to be only about $1.9 million, not much more than what Scott made in 2017-18. Given how well he played this season, it would not be surprising if he earns much more than that.

Potential to improve: Free throw shooting, forcing turnovers, ability to guard bigs

More player season reviews:

John Wall, PG

Bradley Beal, SG

Otto Porter, SF

Markieff Morris, PF

Marcin Gortat, C

Kelly Oubre, Jr., SF

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