After an awful 2-15 start to the season the Washington Wizards decided to fire head coach Flip Saunders. They had no choice. Even though the Wizards problems go beyond coaching and things probably couldn’t have gotten much worse for the Wizards, they just couldn’t continue down the path they were on and the team needed a new voice. They didn’t appear to be playing to their fullest and it was getting rather embarrassing watching them underachieve. One of the biggest culprits of this is Andray Blatche.
The 25-year-old has had a turbulent start to his career and clashed with Flip Saunders on a few occasions. However, coming off a career year a season ago, it looked like Blatche’s immaturity was a thing of the past and he was ready to take the next step. Not so much. The boo birds have been out in Washington this year and many have been directed at him. After averaging over 16 points per game on 45 percent shooting last year, he is down to 11 points per game on just 38 percent shooting this season. The Wizards need more than just a new coach, but firing Saunders was the first step to take in trying to turn things around in Washington.
Andray Blatche joined 106.7 the Fan in Washington D.C. on the Mike Wise Show with Holden Kushner to talk about how he feels about Flip Saunders being fired, what he thinks about the job Saunders did in Washington, why he feels like he could’ve done more to help Saunders keep his job, whether or not players were tuning out Saunders’ message, if he gave his input to ownership on Saunders, what he would think about Randy Wittman taking over, and whether or not he would like to stay with the Wizards.
How he feels about Flip Saunders being fired:
“I don’t know because he’s not a bad coach it’s just that as a team, as players, and as a whole we couldn’t get things together and win. Flip, even though me and him had tough times together as a player and a coach, I still look at him as a great coach. He had great players and he did great things in his career, it’s just unfortunate that the way the season is going and I can take some of the blame away, the way that I’m playing, I couldn’t even help him to keep his job or get wins. I just feel bad for him.”
What he thinks about the job Saunders did in Washington:
“He was just put in a tough position dealing with the situation, dealing with the rebuilding with young players. It’s gonna be rainy days before sunshine. We’re definitely playing better basketball. We’re actually playing good basketball except for the other night against the 76ers. We just have to figure out how to close games now. Flip did a great job at teaching young players and trying to keep everyone together. Like I said it’s unfortunate what happened to him.”
Why he feels like he could’ve done more to help Saunders keep his job:
“As far as my numbers are down. I’m not able to help the team in the way I used to last year or in the previous years. I don’t know. It’s just tough. He planned on me, John (Wall), and Nick (Young) coming back and really helping out. It’s just been a tough road.”
Whether or not players were tuning out Flip Saunders message:
“I can somewhat agree to that. Kind of somewhat.”
Whether or not he went to ownership to give his input on Flip Saunders:
“No. I never, ever went to ownership to say anything about the coach because it wasn’t my place. If anything I complained about myself, but I never went and complained about him.”
What he would think about Randy Wittman taking over in the interim:
“To be honest with you it’s hard to say. He’s the same coach as Flip. I’m quite sure Randy Wittman wouldn’t come in the locker room and allow certain things to happen that Flip wouldn’t. I feel now players are going to have to step up more than ever because they’re no longer able to say ‘well the problem was coaching.’ Well you can’t say that now because if you come out and we still play the same way then maybe it’s the players.”
If he feels like his poor play contributed to Saunders getting fired:
“I don’t feel I helped but I feel that I didn’t help him stay by my play. I feel like if I played better and I was able to help the team win more then things could’ve been different.”
Why he disagreed with Saunders in the past:
“I mean, me and Flip had our problems in the past, but most of our problems came from miscommunication or something he thought I said or done. We had meetings and talked and it ended up not being the case. So between me and him there was nothing ever personal.”
Whether or not he would like to stay in Washington:
“To be honest with you I love it here in Washington. Even though some fans are frustrated with my style of play and they have the right to be. I’m frustrated. When I go home at night, I mean people don’t know what kind of nights I have when I can’t sleep or sometimes I can’t eat. I love it. I’ve been here since my rookie year. Fans have been behind me through ups and downs, the owner has been behind me through ups and downs so this is basically my home and hopefully I can turn this things around and become the player they want me to be. Until then I just want everybody to stick behind this team and my teammates.”