Andris Biedrins “came off the bench,” against the Wizards–which is a nice euphemism in this instance. The term emphasizes his arrival, makes it sound as though the arrival time was Biedrins’s choice. And it doesn’t capture the symbolic significance of Warriors management, finally giving up on a once-prized big man.

The sad truth is that he’s fading away as a basketball player. This is very different from when an old veteran starts losing his skills. As Andris fades, so too does the player many imagined he’d become. Today’s Biedrins has lost the considerable potential that the 20-year-old promised. Not many 6-11 guys could run, jump and finish like the Goose. The modern version certainly doesn’t, which means he’ll probably never raise the bar higher than 2008.

Andris is only 24, so his decline is a regression. The brimming confidence of 2007 is melting. Biedrins is slowly becoming his gawky beginnings–he’s the hermit crab who disappeared into the shell of his former self.

While many have sympathy for Greg Oden, few feel for the Latvian. To my eyes, the message boards and comment sections have ruled harshly. Much of the antipathy likely stems from how Andris avoids contact these days. Big men are supposed to be tough, and Golden State’s center swivels from drawing fouls in a manner that’s probably intentional. He’s averaging .6 free throw attempts per game, down from his 08-09 mark of 3.5.

His free throw shooting plummeted in Nellie’s final year and it hasn’t returned to an acceptable mediocrity level. Biedrins’s inability to conquer this wide-open 16 Ft shot has tainted the other aspects of his game. People can buy playing hurt, but they can’t countenance a mental block. To the engaged Warriors viewer: Andris Biedrins is scared of free throws, so he plays a brand of basketball that’s an affront to low post masculinity code. Hard for a fan–or coach–to fall in love with that manifestation of human frailty.

And the situation isn’t correcting itself, likely not with the Warriors organization. It’s just damned frustrating. I hardly see team as much as Rusty Simmons or Marcus Thompson, but Biedrins works whenever I do. He’s always polishing low post moves in my periphery. He’s always augmenting a game that’s slipping away.

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5 Responses

  1. Frank

    11 million a year to foul out in the first and miss every freethrow after failing to score because he did NOT throw it down…

    Cap room anyone?

  2. Daniel

    A free throw isn’t a 16-foot shot…it’s generally referred to as a 14-foot shot, but it’s 13 feet from the free throw line to the front of the rim, and 15 feet to the backboard.

  3. ejaylinz

    Andris has the talent and the size to become a very good center, but does he have the heart?
    Only he can answer this…He should play the game do not let the game play my friend above stated fouls from the other team is a good thing..He should play some tape from 2008 I believe it is a confidence issue, Andris you have what it takes but you have to toughen up and have heart and want it…let your mind free and play basketball dont play in your mind play on the court I too have faith in you.

  4. White Hat

    The problem with Biedrins’ foul avoidance isn’t masculinity, it’s that since he doesn’t collect his fair share of fouls – and score from them – he’s passing up 5-10 points a game. That is too often the margin for the Ws’ losses.

    Perhaps more importantly, he’s failing to discourage overly aggressive defense from opposing bigs. Even if Biedrins remains a terrible FT shooter, puting opponents in foul trouble softens them up for Monta and everyone else. Collecting fouls is a job requirement for playing center.

  5. gsubi

    I’ve always been a huge fan of Biedrins. I’ve even gotten over his comb-over. I wish he could turn back into the player he was back in 2008 and watch some of his own film and start some kind of new workout and practice routine for himself so that he can regain his confidence and aggressiveness that he used to have and do himself and all of the warriors fans a favor and step his game back up! He’s still young and has plenty of time to do it, why not start as soon as possible! I have faith in you, Andris!