Before the Gilbert Arenas-Rashard Lewis trade went down, Flip Saunders dropped a comment or two about the imbalanced roster he’d been given, and even referred to his, quote “our top players play the same position,” sentiment after the deal was done. But the fact that Rashard Lewis is a 31-year old stretch four with ‘been in the league since high school’ mileage is the zinger. How’s that for roster imbalance? Flip, your team is still soft.
You almost think that Lewis’ current trade value for the Wizards is less than the perceived value of Gilbert Arenas when he was a Wizard, even with Arenas’ longer contract … in that as a Wizard, Arenas’ trade value was always going to be high risk, high reward for a desperate GM, and he was building on an ‘okay-ish’ job at improving his status. In reality, Lewis may have been more stuck in Orlando than Arenas was in Washington. But Arenas’ potential trade value probably was higher for Otis Smith than anyone else, and that’s why Lewis is in Washington.
Which, of course, will bring us back to some comments from Arenas in that infamous Q&A with ESPN’s Michael Wallace which came across as jerk-ish. When asked about the entirely different subject of keeping in touch with Antawn Jamison, Caron Butler and Brendan Haywood, Arenas spoke about Nick Young instead and ended his answer by pointing out how mad Rashard Lewis is, and should be, about his situation in Washington … while Arenas smiles in Orlando. Here’s the excerpt:
Q: You say you’re past it all now. Everyone has moved on. Caron Butler, DeShawn Stevenson and Brendan Haywood ended up in Dallas. Antawn Jamison is in Cleveland. You’re now in Orlando. Do you guys still keep in touch?
A: I still catch up with some of those guys after every game. Especially [Wizards guard] Nick Young. Because I loved his talents from when he was little. I talk to him after games. He makes jokes about stuff. He was telling me about Rashard Lewis (traded to Washington in deal for Arenas). Nick was like, ‘I don’t know if he’s going to make it two weeks here. He feels like the world just ended.’ And I’m like, ‘Man, I feel like the world just started for me over here. I can see why he’s mad.’
But this is a new year for Lewis. While in Washington, he’s conducted himself in a professional manner, but is certainly not immune to mounting frustration from losing. It’s now just about playing better through that frustration.
Rashard Lewis’ relevant numbers, those in the area of shooting, have stayed relatively the same over six games with the Wizards (FG% – ORL: .419, WAS: .429; 3P% – ORL: .367, WAS: .333; Points Per 36 Minutes – ORL: 13.5, WAS: 13.0), but his rebounds and assists have gone up (REB/36 – ORL: 4.7, WAS: 6.8; AST/36 – ORL: 1.3, WAS: 3.1) … aided by the fact that he can rebound better as a three man, and because he’s in a different offensive system where there are more opportunities to create.
Lewis’ New Year’s goal is to find his shot. He could be “stuck” in D.C. for a while, so hopefully he can find his happy place in the frigid weather and get the net scorching. It might also make sense for him to find the baseline to the corner area on offense. Not sure if the corner is Lewis’ preferred angle of three-pointer, but it is the closest three (in distance), and something frequently available when John Wall is on the court and pushing the ball.