Andris Biedrins has been through a lot and we might have more info as to why his career has seemingly plummeted at the age of 25. When asked about his poor free throw shooting, Biedrins claims that coach Don Nelson's public comments about him and his own personal expectations are to blame for his year plus bout with performance anxiety. But Latvian Davis Bertrans, a potential first round 2012 NBA Draft prospect, sheds light on more of Biedrins potential demons haunting him and, possibly, his free throwing.
SLAM Online Roger Bohn sat down with Bertrans at the Adidas Eurocamp Workout to talk hoops and the brief history of Latvian professional basketball players. When asked about Biedrins' place in the Latvian pantheon of professional basketball exports, Bertrans tells us something that many Warrior fans and quite possibly Warriors front office was unaware of when it comes to Biedrins' private life:
SLAM: Is basketball a growing sport in Latvia? You generally don't hear about too many players coming out of Latvia, but has the game grown with the success of Andris Biedrins?
DB: I think we have a great future for Latvian basketball because lately from every generation, there are at least one or two players with a great talent and potential. As you can see, our U-18 national team from last year had 3 players who signed contracts abroad. It was me with Olimpija, PG Kaspars Vecvagars with Zalgiris in Lithuania and Edmunds Dukulis with Cantu in Italy. Also, Janis Timma had offers from good teams but he decided to stay in Latvia for this season. So, I consider that basketball will grow in next years for sure. And about Biedrins... Latvian people sometimes are really wrong. Many of them don't like Biedrins because he didn't play for National team last summer, but I think we should be proud for him because he has made it to NBA, even though he played just in Latvia before he got drafted. So he is a true Latvian product. (emphasis mine)
Being publicly humiliated by your coach (Don Nelson) is one thing, but having your home country hating on you has got to hurt. For the sake of time, perhaps Betrans is leaving huge parts of the story out. It is unclear to what extent people don't like Biedrins and how heavily he is publicly scorned for his failure to represent his country. But from this small tidbit, I wonder how much this has been going on and why this hasn't been discussed at all by Biedrins, the Warriors, or NBA analysts. With this new information, perhaps we have greater insight as to why Biedrins is struggling the way he is.
If the 2 billion or so Chinese people in this world collectively hated me, I think I would be feeling just as nervous shooting each free throw.