The media knew Gilbert Arenas was going to be first up to bat at media day, so they picked their spots and waited. When Arenas arrived with a full ‘mean-mug’ on his face, the rugby scrum for question asking and comment hearing positioning began.
Arenas started with a serious nature and short answers, but eventually opened up and talked about a wide range of subjects. Here’s the run-down:
Three-Hour Retirement Contemplation
He spoke about the emotional roller-coaster that he went through surrounding his knee. In January 2009, he got an x-ray on it before he going to Miami. The doctor told him he had swelling in his joint and that he might need yet another surgery. “That’s when I blew up,” Arenas said. “For about three hours, I said I’d rather retire before I go through another surgery … at least I can save the team some money.” But another doctor he saw in Miami told him to hold off on the surgery and instead, gave him a shot that seemed to clear everything up.
Arenas says that there will be no more ‘Agent Zero’ and no more ‘Hibachi’.
“When I was entertaining and playing, all you guys focused on was my words, now I’d rather you just focus on my basketball … you know, put the gimmick out and just play basketball.”
When asked further about his serious nature, Arenas said he didn’t exactly know if he’s going to be serious all year, but says that when he’s having fun, he gets criticized (seems really hurt/jaded about this), and that now we will see what happens when he’s serious.
“I don’t want to entertain anymore, I just want to go out there and play.”
In regard to how this might change the locker room, Arenas said:
“Well probably since I’m not in there goofing around, I don’t know how everybody is going to react. You know, everyone is used to me lightening up the mood before games and for practice … it just might affect that aspect.”
Later, I followed up and asked him if things get ‘too’ tight in the locker room, would he feel the need to bring the pranks back out, perhaps cut up Nick Young’s suit (or something like that).
Arenas responded with a simple, “No … I’m not doing that anymore.” So, good for Young and any other potential victims.
Of course, when DeShawn Stevenson was told about Arenas’ new found serious nature, he said, “Well, Gil say one thing and do another. So we’ll see.”
No More Jacking Threes
(the ears of fantasy basketball players just perked up)
“Before, in Eddie’s offense because it was made for the three and the four, I took a lot of wild shots, fastbreak threes. I don’t need to take 500 threes this year. I’m trying to take probably less than 100. I’m not going to be a three point shooter this year. I worked most of the year on mid-ranging and I mid-range very well.”
“I have the deep shot if it comes to a game winner, but I’m not gonna be sitting there launching threes up. I’m going to be shooting for percentage.”
When asked about accepting a leadership role, Gilbert retorted with ‘What is a leader’ and then waxed poetic whether it meant setting an example via working hard and getting to the gym early, or if it meant a coach saying in the paper that he’s a leader and then ‘poof’, he’s a leader. He said he has no idea what a ‘leader’ really is.
“My first year here, Eddie appointed Stackhouse and Larry [Hughes] to be the leaders. He didn’t want me to be the leader, said I was too young. From that moment, I was just never the leader. In my mind, I was always too young. So, every time he tried to appoint me as the leader, I just didn’t want to be it. And this year, Flip said ‘I want you to be my leader’, so I said ‘okay’.”
On his personal goal for the season
“To play 82 games, that’s it … I’ve played it once in my career and I’d like to try it again.”
On his weight
“During the season I was 234, right now I’m 209, and I feel a lot stronger. This is the lightest I’ve been since my rookie season.”
On reports of current NBA players (Igoudala, etc.) from pickup games saying that Arenas is back
“I mean … you’re not playing in an NBA atmosphere. So, it’s hard to really judge, but I guess if they say I’m back through pick up games, then …” [inaudible, but essentially a 'whatever']
Gil said that the best basketball he played during the summer was in Chicago because it was the most consistent in terms of playing with NBA guys every day.
On if Tim Grover’s training is essentially a ‘reboot’ of his career
“I’m starting another one … this is the second chapter of my NBA career, so we’ll see how it goes.”
Arenas also said that it took about two years for him to accept Tim Grover’s offer to train him because he didn’t believe in traveling and paying somebody when you can do it yourself.
“All the ‘free’ ones wasn’t getting the job done, so I had to go to [Grover]“
More on Grover
“What NBA staffs don’t have, he has them all … acupuncture, chiropractor, PTP book, he has it all in one facility. The stuff I needed, we didn’t have here.”
On his inspiration to try Grover
“The way [Dwyane Wade] played (last season), he played like ‘you guys made a mistake on me’ and it just gave me that confidence to try something else.”
On carrying over Grover’s training into the season
“I know what I have to do. I need to lift twice a week on my leg. [Grover's] going to be there at training camp to teach our strength coach what to do.”
On Flip Saunders’ offense
“It’s a lot of reads. It’s not like the Princeton or the Triangle where everybody is reading off each other.”
Gil went on to say that there’s a lot of movement in Flip’s offense. It’s not difficult, but to the point.
As a point guard in Flip’s offense, as opposed to the Princeton where he’s “just a guard” or the Triangle where any number of people (Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant) and be a “point”, Arenas said he now gets to “control the game with the ball.”
On how important the season is to him
“If you would have asked me four months ago, I would have said this is ‘very important’ but now, I just want to play basketball again. Being out two years from something I love, it’s just taking the thing you love and taking it away for two years … you have your ups and downs, you’re going to have mood swings … and I just want to play basketball. I don’t care if it’s a pickup game, training camp, or the NBA, I just want to play again.”
Also see … ‘Key Gilbert Arenas quotes from media day’ – Bullets Forever