Andray Blatche was not made available Tuesday, a day after he expressed his frustrations about the way he was used in the Wizards' opening-night loss to the New Jersey Nets. He sneaked through the back exit after practice, and avoided crossing paths with reporters, but didn't necessarily go quietly.
Blatche responded to reaction of his criticism of the coaching staff for not getting him the ball in the low post by going on Twitter to write, "Every body need to shut up I didn't call out my coach or team mates I said I had a bad game need it n the post instead of jump shots."
Coach Flip Saunders glossed over what Blatche had to say after practice, saying he was relieved to finally hear the 6-foot-11 forward declare that he was tired of being a "pick-and-pop" player.
"His reputation has been for six years that he won't go in the post," said Saunders, who suspended Blatche two seasons ago for getting belligerent when the coaching staff demanded that he go inside instead of settling on jumpers.
"Him saying that he wants to go in the post, to me that's — I like hearing him say that. We try to get him in the post," Saunders said. "The other thing you have to understand is that other teams always aren't going to let you do what you want to do. And he is a good post-up player." Blatche scored 11 points on just 5-for-13 shooting and had eight rebounds in the Wizards' 90-84 loss.
Before the game, Blatche grabbed the microphone and addressed the audience: "This is your captain." Blatche assumed captain's duties before the game, shaking hands with Nets point guard Deron Williams and getting instructions from the referees.
But Saunders said captains have not been assigned for the season and that he planned to rotate different players throughout the season. "I haven't decided who's going to be our captains. We've had two weeks' training camp, and it was a situation last night, he's been here the longest, longer than anybody else, and so we'll rotate who it's going to be.
"Being a captain is not something that's given to you," Saunders continued. "It's something that basically evolves. I know there's been a lot of guys that have never had a C on their shirt, but have been a leader on the floor more than anybody else. That'll evolve over time."
Blatche has tried to assume more of a leadership role this offseason, organizing a team workout after Saunders gave him John C. Maxwell's "The 17 Essential Qualities of a Team Player: Becoming The Kind of Person Every Team Wants." Blatche acknowledged admitted to only reading having read only half of the book and didn't remember its name.
Wizards owner Ted Leonsis said on media day that more was expected of Blatche, who was rewarded a three-year, $28 million extension in September 2010. The Wizards signed him to the deal to avoid letting him become an unrestricted free agent this summer, when his previous deal was expected to expire.
"I talked to Andray and he understands that the fan base, media are all looking to take cues on can his focus and dedication match his skills," Leonsis said. "He's a young man, and he understands that these are defining moments for him."