Arenas' Need For Balance and Screen Shots From Atlanta | Wizards Blog Truth About

Arenas’ Need For Balance and Screen Shots From Atlanta

Updated: October 31, 2009

Success of the Wizards is contingent upon the court leadership of Gilbert Arenas. This is not a ground-breaking concept. Despite looking “back” in Dallas, he’s still rusty, and he and the team have a good deal of the development “process” to go.

Nothing could have more exemplified this than the first quarter in Atlanta. As I wrote in the previous game post, Arenas had eight points, one turnover in the game’s first 6:20 and one point, five turnovers in the remainder of the first half. When the offense started to get sloppy, Arenas did not exert control on this situation to calm his team down.

Mike Prada did a good job of breaking this down on Bullets Forever:

A large part of the problem was that Arenas was breaking a lot of plays to drive to the basket.  Yes, it’s true that you want Arenas to be aggressive, in particular because it would wear down Joe Johnson.  However, that has to come more in the flow of the offense than it did tonight.  Arenas kept calling his own number instead of letting the offense run itself and then dumping the ball to another scorer.  The rest of the players were often not prepared for Arenas’ decisions and didn’t get in position to defend in transition.

The strive to achieve more balance is new to Arenas. It’s gonna take some time. All Wizards fans can do is have faith that the experience of Flip Saunders will work to correct these issues and the desire of Arenas to be a better player will make him wholly receptive to the process.

Let’s also be glad that Sam Cassell is around to put some flavor in Arenas’ ear.


I wish I had more time to breakdown the Hawks game via screen shots … but I don’t and I have to run out the door to get to the Verizon Center for the game. Damn back-to-backs.

{1st Bucket of The Game}

Bibby starts in the left corner and goes baseline … a screen by Al Horford on Gilbert Arenas offers little resistance. Arenas easily gets past Horford … but as you can see below, he pauses for a second right under the rim. Why? I’m not sure … but Bibby keeps moving. What Bibby is gaining here is known as separation.

Bibby ‘sorta’ sets a pick on Fabricio Oberto, but this is more of a distraction. Arenas hangs back to prevent the lob to Josh Smith … but with Caron Butler also watching from the weak side and Bibby’s screen offering little resistance for Oberto, Gil is still not really in position to keep up with Bibby once he breaks free.

Bibby breaks free … Oberto opens up and allows a lane for Arenas to follow … Josh Smith is not a threat … there is still a bit too much separation between Gil and Mike.

Bibby continues his curl and Horford steps out to screen Arenas. The separation doesn’t allow Arenas to keep up, possibly putting himself in the passing lane to get a steal or at least in position to dissuade Johnson from passing to Bibby.

Bibby receives the pass and Arenas tries to go under the screen … but with the previous separation and the change of course (from trying to go over the screen to trying to go under), it was much too late. Easy bucket.

Maybe Arenas’ teammates could have helped him more … maybe Arenas could have applied more effort on defense. I suppose I’m not the one to judge.

{Transition Defense}

Josh Smith gets a rebound and pushes the ball up the court himself, giving the Hawks a 4-on-2 advantage with two Wizards coming to catch up.

The thing about transition defense is you want to make the other team pass the ball as many times as possible. The more passes, the more chances there are for the offense to mess up … turn the ball over, allow the defense to catch up negating the advantage, etc.

To do this, the idea is that one person stops the ball and his teammate covers the first pass (and the first guy falls back to get the second pass, and so on) … this requires communication.

Here, you see Caron Butler and DeShawn Stevenson stuck in the lane. Neither goes to stop Josh Smith … and remember, Smith has been dribbling for the entire length of the court.

With no forced action from the Wizards, Smith just takes the ball all the way to the hoop himself with very little resistance.

The little things.

{Flava In Ya Ear – Remix}

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Kyle Weidie
Founder / Editor / Reporter / Writer at TAI
Kyle founded TAI in 2007 and has been weaving in and out the world of Wizards ever since, ducking WittmanFaces, jumping over G-Wiz, and avoiding stints on the DNP-Conditioning list. He has covered the Washington pro basketball team as a member of the media since 2009. Kyle currently lives in Brooklyn, NY with his wife, loves basketball, and has no pets.