It’s time for Blatche to reward his protector. In showing that he finally has a clue, Blatche would do a lot to prove Grunfeld has one, too.
“Andray played with a lot of injuries [last season], but he still put up nice numbers,” Grunfeld said. “And when he was in there, we were still a pretty effective team, especially in that 10-, 12-game stretch at the end of the season.
“He did some good things when he really came back healthy. But, yeah, we expect progress from him. We think . . . I know he’s gonna have a good season. I know he’s gonna have a better season than he’s had in the past.”
Getting more from McGee also would reflect well on Grunfeld.
Without a doubt, the young 7-footer possesses talent. Last season McGee finished second in the league in blocked shots. He’s certainly capable of putting on a show.
That’s also McGee’s problem. Too often, the “show” seemed more important to him. The Wizards don’t need McGee to display his dribbling ability or shot creativity far from the basket.
They need him to maximize his ability in the post. It’s not about style points.
“We’ll be real satisfied if JaVale shows as much improvement from last year to this year as he did from the previous year to last year,” Grunfeld said. “People sometimes forget that JaVale is only 23.
“He’s the No. 2 shot-blocker in the league. He averaged eight rebounds a game, and he did show improvement. Did he make some mistakes? Of course, he did. He did just like any young player. But we think JaVale has made good progress and we expect more progress this year.”
Wisely, Grunfeld is building around impressive second-year point guard John Wall. Grunfeld made a nice move in acquiring guard Jordan Crawford and has done a good job reworking Washington’s salary cap.
“We have a lot of flexibility,” he said. “We can use that cap room either this summer, next summer or the following summer.”
Grunfeld is looking toward the future. He envisions a bright one for the Wizards. This season should determine how much longer he should remain part of it.