Normally, Gilbert Arenas might be the last, but not the least, Washington Wizard to be evaluated. But that’s not the case this year…..Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison formed an alpha dog duo this past season. My thoughts on Agent Zero are below, head over to Bullets Forever (coming soon) to check out what the Pradamaster and Jake The Snake have to say.
This past season provided me, along with others, a lion’s share of negative thoughts about Gilbert Arenas. Unfortunately, many of those others allowed such ideas to consume the previous good will built by Agent Zero to the point where they no longer wanted Gilbert on their team. I will not allow myself to forget what I’ve learned from the past.
For one, I’m a believer in Gilbert Arenas. He came from humble beginnings and has successfully overcome every real and perceived slight handed down upon him. I remember seeing Gilbert Arenas play live in college from the opponent’s end of the court way back in December of 2000. That day, Mississippi State defeated 10th-ranked Arizona, in Tuscon, in ‘Zona’s own Fiesta Bowl Basketball Classic tournament, for the first time in its 16 year history. That Wildcat team featured the likes of Arenas, Richard Jefferson, Jason Gardner, Loren Woods, Luke Walton, Eugene “High Socks & ‘Fro” Edgerson, and team leading scorer, Michael Wright. Gilbert dropped 14 points, but I barely remember him being on the court……he surely didn’t live up to scouting report expectations. Gilbert Arenas? Who’s that dude? Lo and behold…..almost seven years later…….I’m writing blog letters to the guy.
Even back in December of ’07, when the Wizards were 8-5 and I was imploring for Gilbert to learn from his striving teammates, negativity filled the air, especially on the Washington Post’s Wizards Insider. The Wizards are no doubt better without Gilbert Arenas and Ernie Grunfeld should immediately get rid of the bum for a bag of nickels and a pouch of Big League Chew……I’m paraphrasing what “they” were saying. The argument continued until the end of the 07-08 season and beyond. Should I get into it now? Nope, not gonna do it.
I’m glad to have Gilbert Arenas back on my hometown team. As much as I was frustrated with the antics, the distractions, the B.S. talking, the non-communication with Eddie Jordan, I always wanted Arenas to return to DC…..I was still going to vote for Nacho.
As recounted on Bullets Forever, most DC blogger/MSM types are amicable towards the resigning of Arenas…even though all could agree on desires for Gilbert to take even less money. The outsiders, they critically predict years of mediocrity for the Wizards as a result of the new six-year $111 million commitment. Eff ‘em…..they’re not with us and their not joining us. And those insiders….fans of the Bullets/Wizards….who were (and still are) against the return of Gil?….Oh well. I’m sure they’ll claim that they had a seat on the bandwagon from the beginning if the team is doing well, and if not, they will be the first to proclaim their clairvoyance with a well placed “I told you so.” How convenient.
I would be disregarding natural human instinct if I said that I didn’t have doubts about giving so much money to a player recovering from a couple knee surgeries. But Gil is a hard worker (if anything, too hard as he displayed in overdoing rehab after the first surgery), and the field of medicine has advanced as the devastating consequences of knee surgery have decreased.
I’d rather take a chance on Arenas than deal with the heartache and regret of him being a star somewhere else. I may not be as perpetually sanguine as the DC Optimist, but I do anticipate a bright future for these Washington Wizards. I’ve got high hopes that Arenas has learned more this past season than he ever has from being part of a team before. Hope that he’s acquired a balance between killer instinct and the ability to defer, a balance between antics and seriousness. Hope that he’s heeded the words of leadership put forth by Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison towards the end of the season. Hope that Gilbert Arenas is a winner and not just another performer.
Next Evaluation: Antawn Jamison