Greg M. Cooper-US PRESSWIRE
From Amnestied to Agent Zero, the transformation of Andray Blatche is nearly complete.
Brooklyn is new to everyone on the Nets revamped roster, but no one has taken a more bizarre path to the Barclays Center than backup center/forward Andray Blatche.
A former second-round pick of the Washington Wizards straight out of high school, Blatche overcame a car jacking, multiple run ins with the law, the unofficial title of "most booed man in Washington" and finally the scarlet letter of being one of the few players paid to go away via the NBA's amnesty rule.
The three seasons after they drafted Blatche were forgettable at best for the Wizards. He never started for that 15 games in any of those years while he started to take on the look of another kid that should have stayed in college. Then the 6'11" Blatche started to show signs of his game starting to improve the next two seasons with averages of 10 and 14 points, all the while still making everyone scratch their heads with his antics on and off the court.
One of the most bizarre moments of his tenure in Washington came against the New Jersey Nets. That's when Blatche did everything he could to try and get a triple-double, including attempting to steal a rebound from his teammate and then getting upset when his theft attempt was denied.
Check out the video of Blatche trying to "earn" that triple-double.
Andray Blatche - The Man Who Just Wanted A Triple-Double... (via BasketballFail)
Washington felt they finally had the player they drafted five years earlier and despite his questionable decisions locked Blatche up with a shiny new contract extension. He responded with a career year, averaging 16.8 points, 8.3 rebounds while starting 63 games and playing more minutes than everyone on the roster but John Wall.
On the heels of his fantastic season and hopes finally high in Washington, the wheels completely fell off for Blatche. During the lockout, the enigmatic Wizard decided to lock himself out of the gym and was unable to get back into game shape once the shortened NBA season got underway. He was only able to appear in 26 games with Washington shutting Blatche down due to his weight.
Rock bottom for Blatche came in March -- again in a game against the Nets -- when he earned the amazing "DNP - CONDITIONING" in the official box score. The team didn't want him on the floor and they made sure to let the entire sports world know why.
Despite his contract, that was the moment Blatche knew a divorce was coming with the only team he had ever known.
"I knew it was over. I just had that feeling. I knew either trade or amnesty was going to happen. Something had to happen."
And it did when the Wizards used their one-time-only amnesty on Blatche, removing him from their salary cap but paying the rest of the $23 million left on his contract. Though he worried about being done as a professional, eventually teams showed interest in the seven-year veteran with the decision coming down to Brooklyn or Miami.
It was Blatche's response to the defending champs showing interest that may best sum up what is going on in Brooklyn already.
Now he gets a second chance on a Nets team that won't need to put up with any immaturity. They don't owe him any money and have plenty of depth, so he can be cut at the first sign of any trouble. And it's that lack of security that seems to have lit a fire under Blatche. Wearing jersey No. 0, he looks like a new man and that has translated to the court, where he has already turned in a 23-point effort against the Boston Celtics.
It should be noted that while he has already lived what seems like multiple lives in the NBA, there are only four players younger than Blatche that are set to make Avery Johnson's final roster. He is young enough he could turn into a secret weapon -- the Brooklyn Nets very own Agent Zero -- for a team that already has their top eight players already locked in for opening night.