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Thread: OT: Arenas Sounds off on his critics and questions Kobe (SI.com)

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    Default OT: Arenas Sounds off on his critics and questions Kobe (SI.com)

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    Arenas sounds off on his critics and questions Kobe
    Posted: Friday November 2, 2007

    Ian Thomsen






    BOSTON -- Gilbert Arenas appears to be discovering his inner Charles Barkley. After years of deprecating himself as an underdog never expected to accomplish anything, Arenas has vaulted to the other end of the spectrum. Now his words are as loud as his game.

    "If I'm doing what I do and I lead this team to 50-something wins, that's MVP,'' Arenas was saying after his Washington Wizards' practice Thursday. "Hands down.''

    He believes his 28.9-point scoring average over the past two years qualifies him to say whatever he wants, which -- as of this moment, at least -- should make him the most provocative star in the league. When I mentioned the trade requests of Kobe Bryant, with whom Arenas was linked in a recently rumored proposal that was instantly shot down by the Wizards, he shut his eyes and shook his head, tsk, tsk.

    "I don't understand that,'' Arenas said. "I don't understand a player like him sometimes.''

    How so?

    "One, you want to get traded because you don't like your team, you don't think your team's good enough,'' Arenas said. "But any team you go to, they're going to have to get rid of a whole bunch of players for you, which basically puts you back in the same situation -- just in a different city. I don't know how a player doesn't see that. If he just doesn't like the organization, then I understand that. But you hear the Chicago rumors: If they had to get rid of Ben Gordon, Luol Deng, [Andres] Nocioni -- that's your whole nucleus. Now you're stuck with Kirk Hinrich, you, Joe Smith, 'Kim Noah, Ben Wallace. That's great defense, but offensively you're going to be doing the same thing you were doing before.

    "So it's like your situation is not changing. Unless somebody's going to trade you a one-for-one player, he's not going to be in a happy situation there either.

    "I've never seen [Michael] Jordan act like that. I didn't even see AI [Allen Iverson], when he was going through them bad days, you know? They were always talking about trading him, and he was like, 'If they trade me, they trade me; if they don't, they don't; but this is my city.' And I don't understand how Kobe doesn't feel that about L.A. -- it's his city.''

    According to a fellow All-Star, then, Bryant is wrong to think he would be better off elsewhere.

    "With the Lakers, he's always going to have the opportunity to attract players. A free agent is willing to go to a Laker uniform. Everybody wants to go to L.A. -- KG would want to go there,'' Arenas said of Kevin Garnett. "Jason Kidd would want to go there. Jason Kidd is up next season, right? He's a free agent [in 2009]. Why don't you wait? Maybe he'll just come over there. You never know.''

    Arenas is promising to opt out of his six-year, $65 million contract with the Wizards this summer. His intention is to sign a new six-year deal worth more than $90 million to remain in Washington. As the top free agent, he can't claim any longer that he's a zero (as his uniform number suggests) just trying to make it. Now he says that he's already there; it's just that the rest of us haven't noticed.

    "This is what a lot of people don't realize about me,'' Arenas said. "They call me a shoot-first point guard. And honestly, OK.'' Which means he can't argue with that. "But no one's ever [been] a point guard that averages points like me and he had two other guys that average [19].''
    He was referring to former All-Star Antawn Jamison, who averaged 19.8 points last year, and Caron Butler, who added 19.1 and made his first All-Star team. They did this while Arenas was going for 28.4 to finish third in league scoring behind Bryant and Carmelo Anthony.

    "I've been doing it my whole career -- when I had Larry [Hughes, who averaged 22 points in 2004-05 alongside Jamison's 19.6); Antawn, Caron," Arenas said. "I don't see Dwyane [Wade] doing that. I don't see Kobe doing that. I didn't see AI doing that. I don't see LeBron [James] doing it -- there's not another scorer with him scoring 20.

    "I mean, AI did it [last year with 24.8 points for Denver after his trade from Philadelphia] because Carmelo already was having 30, so they never started from the beginning where two other players were averaging [close to] 20 points. And the way I can do that is because I push the ball so much that we're getting opportunities. It's not like we're taking 60 shots and I'm taking 30 of them. I took 25 shots [in Wednesday's season-opening overtime loss at Indiana] and we had 99 attempts. Antawn had 25 shots. Caron had 19 shots. So your Big Three is still getting their opportunities.

    "Nobody realizes how valuable I really am to teams. It's like, 'Oh, we don't know if he can be a point guard.' Well, every guard out there can't be me. But if I lose my speed, I can be them.''

    He laughed at what he'd just said, then repeated it to show he was serious. "If I lose my speed getting to the basket, I can be them. I can be a spot-up shooter. I can come off a pick-and-roll and make passes. I can reach their peak; they can't be what I am.''


    I told Arenas that I imagined at his best he could be like Isiah Thomas, who won two championships as a scoring point guard. He nodded in agreement and said, "I'm much stronger and a better shooter than he was.''

    But it's his up-tempo approach that makes the big difference, Arenas insisted.

    "When I was at Arizona, Lute Olson made it perfectly clear. He said, 'If you guys want to keep your averages, you've got to put up more attempts. You've got to speed this game up.' So that's how I always played,'' Arenas said. "If you want to make everybody happy, you've got to get opportunities. You can't slow the ball up. I understand truthfully how Larry feels over there at Cleveland because, as athletic as they are, they slow the ball up so that if LeBron takes 25 shots and they only took 60 [as a team], it looks like he's dominating. But if you're running and he takes 25 shots and you got your 19 and somebody else got their 19, you don't know the difference.

    "That's the only reason the guys on this team like playing with me. That's why Larry Hughes loved playing with me because at the end of the day, even though I take a lot of shots, it doesn't seem that way because if you average 19 [points] and you're getting 19 [shots], you're not looking at mine. You play with Kobe, you see he took 37 shots. I've taken 30-something shots before but it never looked like it because Antawn got his 22 and Caron got his 22 shots.''

    He was making it sound as if Hughes appreciated Arenas more after leaving as a free agent in 2005 to sign with Cleveland, where he has averaged 15.5 and 14.9 points over the last two years.

    "I'm not even going to lie, I'm not going to put words in his mouth,'' Arenas said. "But he told me in training camp, 'Man, I want to come back.' The first training camp he was there. It's not [because of] LeBron's game; it's the offense he's in. He's not in that offense that used to be when they had Ricky Davis, Darius Miles -- oh my God they were flying. Now they're more a half-court, set-up team, so when [James] tries to play his game, it looks more dominating than it's supposed to look.''

    Because he's an impending free agent, I asked Arenas how he would feel about playing with Bryant on the Lakers next year.

    "If he adapted his game to my style, then it would be a great fit,'' Arenas said, "because he's going to get his 45 shots but the game is going to be fast. So if he can play this style, we're going to go up and down and you're going to get your 45 or whatever shots you need to keep you happy, but everybody else is going to get an equal opportunity too.

    "It's so funny that no one ever realizes that about my game, that I've played with two players that averaged [close to] 20 points, and they're never complaining. Because if you think about it, if someone said, 'Would you play with Gilbert?' they would be thinking about it like, 'Oh, I don't know, he's shoot-first.' And then when you actually sit down and look at it, it's like, 'Damn.'

    "They're not paying attention to the game. They're looking at the stat sheet and saying, 'He's a shoot-first point guard. He's a selfish type of point guard, he's a reckless type of point guard.' OK, I understand, but you name your top five scorers, the best players in this league, and then give me two other players on that team that are dominating like the two players I have on my team. That's how you judge somebody. You guys are saying all these great stars are making other players better, and you guys are not mentioning me. And you think about everybody who's played with me.

    "D-Wade had Caron [with the Heat in 2003-04]. Kobe had Caron [with the Lakers in 2004-05]. I have Caron. What's the difference?''

    Butler never averaged more than 15.5 points before he came to Washington.

    "LeBron has Larry Hughes. I had Larry Hughes. What's the difference?
    "Same thing with Antawn. Juan Dixon -- there's a reason when these players are leaving [Washington], they're getting paid. I might not be your Steve Nash, but I'm doing the same thing he's doing. I'm making these players look better.''

    I wondered if Arenas was planning to have his best year because he was playing for a new contract.

    "I don't ever want to hear somebody say he's playing better because it's his contract year," he said. "I mean, I did make three All-Stars and All-NBA three times, so I guess that counts for nothing. But it's just about getting better as a player each year.

    "If you have a player who plays dead for five years of his contract, and then he has a blow-up year, that's called false advertisement. I don't think you should pay him. Because you pay him, what do you think he's going to do? He's going to go back into hibernation.''

    I asked if he was talking about the Clippers' Tim Thomas, for example.

    "Yeah,'' he said. "Thank you.''



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    Default Re: OT: Arenas Sounds off on his critics and questions Kobe (SI.com)

    what an ego

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    Default Re: OT: Arenas Sounds off on his critics and questions Kobe (SI.com)

    makes a great point about Kobe, though.

    I also loved his dig at Tim Thomas. Arenas has the biggest ego in the league, but at least he doesn't give anything less than his best every year.
    Last edited by Kstat; 11-02-2007 at 11:49 AM.

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    Default Re: OT: Arenas Sounds off on his critics and questions Kobe (SI.com)

    Gilbert's head is swelling to NBA Jam-like proportions.

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    Default Re: OT: Arenas Sounds off on his critics and questions Kobe (SI.com)

    Speechless...Wow...Amazing...I'm considering moving to DC.

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    Default Re: OT: Arenas Sounds off on his critics and questions Kobe (SI.com)

    Quote Originally Posted by JayRedd View Post
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    Speechless...Wow...Amazing...I'm considering moving to DC.
    Yup. Are you even mad that he just ate that whole wheel of cheese? Nope. The good life...it's DC...

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    Default Re: OT: Arenas Sounds off on his critics and questions Kobe (SI.com)

    did anyone catch his guarantee for tonights win against boston (i think it was on espn)? i don't know what it is about arenas, he can be as cocky as he wants and i still like him.

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    Default Re: OT: Arenas Sounds off on his critics and questions Kobe (SI.com)

    He may have an ego, but atleast it's one firmly based on fact.

    It's hard to argue with him on the actual points.

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    White and Nerdy Anthem's Avatar
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    Default Re: OT: Arenas Sounds off on his critics and questions Kobe (SI.com)

    Quote Originally Posted by Since86 View Post
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    He may have an ego, but atleast it's one firmly based on fact.

    It's hard to argue with him on the actual points.
    Agree. This was a good point:

    "This is what a lot of people don't realize about me,'' Arenas said. "They call me a shoot-first point guard. And honestly, OK.'' Which means he can't argue with that. "But no one's ever [been] a point guard that averages points like me and he had two other guys that average [19].''

    He was referring to former All-Star Antawn Jamison, who averaged 19.8 points last year, and Caron Butler, who added 19.1 and made his first All-Star team. They did this while Arenas was going for 28.4 to finish third in league scoring behind Bryant and Carmelo Anthony.

    "I've been doing it my whole career -- when I had Larry [Hughes, who averaged 22 points in 2004-05 alongside Jamison's 19.6); Antawn, Caron," Arenas said. "I don't see Dwyane [Wade] doing that. I don't see Kobe doing that. I didn't see AI doing that. I don't see LeBron [James] doing it -- there's not another scorer with him scoring 20.
    I don't know about the "ever" comment... people have been playing basketball for a long time. But that's pretty unique over the past 10 years, unless you count Kobe / Shaq.
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    Default Re: OT: Arenas Sounds off on his critics and questions Kobe (SI.com)

    Arenas has a huge ego. He talks a lot.

    However he backs it up and he gives it all he has.

    One thing about Gilbert is he has had a chip on his shoulder ever since he came into the league. Being picked in the second round and even now he is one of the very best players in the league and he always get overlooked.

    When you look at it, he just may be a top 5-10 player in this league. If the game is on the line I don't think there is another player I want taking that shot in the league besides Gilbert Arenas.

    I understand why Gilbert feels he is right there with all the big names. I agree with him. It is sad that people don't give him more credit. And I don't think it has anything to do with his ego.

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    Default Re: OT: Arenas Sounds off on his critics and questions Kobe (SI.com)

    Yeah, he talks a lot of junk, but he's more playful about it than anything. He's like an even less abrasive version of Ocho Cinco. He just lives life like a 15-year-old...In a good way. I think it's hilarious and refreshing. The "Michael Jordan clone persona" of guys saying nothing that could even remotely be construed as controversial ever is so boring and beat into the ground...I much prefer athletes to have a personality. This is all just entertainment, right?
    Last edited by JayRedd; 11-02-2007 at 03:34 PM.

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    Default Re: OT: Arenas Sounds off on his critics and questions Kobe (SI.com)

    This man is a genius.
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    Default Re: OT: Arenas Sounds off on his critics and questions Kobe (SI.com)

    Love what he said about Kobe also.

    Ok his ego is getting bigger. I normally hate that, but with him he carries some humor or something with it. I still like him as long as he's not crushing the Pacers with 3 balls at the buzzer. O.o
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    Default Re: OT: Arenas Sounds off on his critics and questions Kobe (SI.com)

    I used to dislike Gil because of his monstrous ego, but after watching him and realizing what he's capable of, he's really started to grow on me.

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    Default Re: OT: Arenas Sounds off on his critics and questions Kobe (SI.com)

    Damn, this was a refreshing read.

    I think I'm beginning to love the dude. I like him in the exact same way I love Kanye West: Dude is cocky as hell, but he speaks the truth and backs it up hardcore.

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    Default Re: OT: Arenas Sounds off on his critics and questions Kobe (SI.com)

    Quote Originally Posted by intridcold View Post
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    what an ego
    I don't think it's ego at all. I think Agent Zero makes some very valid points, and it you really pay attention to the game given the examples he's provided, you see exactly what he sees.

    Let's use the Pacers for example. Under RC, I really paid attention to individual player stats and could rather easily guestimate who had more FGAs. It was rather easy to judge because of the half-court system RC used. But after watching the Pacers under JOB, it's not that easy to determine because the team mixes it up so much now. On the one hand you know the ball is going to get in any, if not all, of the starter's hands particularly Tinsley and MDjr, and eventually JO when he returns to the lineup (hopefully tonight 11/02 against the Heat), but because of the uptempo style the team now plays I've noticed that players like Tinsley or even David Harrison, for example, are now getting their "quiet" 10...12...15...18...20 pts. And it's all based on the quickness and unselfishness of the players around them.

    Think it through...

    Before you bash the man (Gilbert Arenas) you have to consider the truth of which he speaks, and the only way to do that is to take the blinders off and look beyond the stat sheets. Watch the way PGs on uptemp teams play, i.e., the Suns, Mavs, Warriors, Wizards and now the Pacers, and then you'll see what Gilbert sees.

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    Default Re: OT: Arenas Sounds off on his critics and questions Kobe (SI.com)

    At the least, it's braggadocios.

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    Default Re: OT: Arenas Sounds off on his critics and questions Kobe (SI.com)

    He might make a good point about Kobe and he might be a refreshing NBA guy. (Partly because he does seem to actually follow other teams.)

    But he got knocked on his *** by Boston fans tonight and his team is off to an 0-2 start. As the Celtics were busy kicking the living crap out of the Wiz, Arenas sat on the bench for the last three or four minutes and listened to the ENTIRE crowd chant "Gilbert, Gilbert" and mock the absolute hell out of him. He looked like a fool, and its something he is making a habit out of. (Did I mention his spectacular 5-20 shooting night? Including 0-5 behind the arc?)
    I liked him a lot better when he was humble and had the me against the world attitude now it just seems like he has an opinion on everyone else and isn't doing anything to make HIS team better. I'm not buying him anymore, I'm selling my Arenas stock. The guy is quickly becoming a clown in my eyes. Someone needs to tell him to stop blogging about what all the other teams need to do, and start thinking about what the Wizards need to do.

    EDIT: And currently Kobe Bryant is running the Suns off the court with the rest of his Laker team.
    Last edited by Trader Joe; 11-03-2007 at 12:42 AM.

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    Default Re: OT: Arenas Sounds off on his critics and questions Kobe (SI.com)

    Quote Originally Posted by Indy View Post
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    He might make a good point about Kobe and he might be a refreshing NBA guy. (Partly because he does seem to actually follow other teams.)

    But he got knocked on his *** by Boston fans tonight and his team is off to an 0-2 start. As the Celtics were busy kicking the living crap out of the Wiz, Arenas sat on the bench for the last three or four minutes and listened to the ENTIRE crowd chant "Gilbert, Gilbert" and mock the absolute hell out of him. He looked like a fool, and its something he is making a habit out of. (Did I mention his spectacular 5-20 shooting night? Including 0-5 behind the arc?)
    I liked him a lot better when he was humble and had the me against the world attitude now it just seems like he has an opinion on everyone else and isn't doing anything to make HIS team better. I'm not buying him anymore, I'm selling my Arenas stock. The guy is quickly becoming a clown in my eyes. Someone needs to tell him to stop blogging about what all the other teams need to do, and start thinking about what the Wizards need to do.

    EDIT: And currently Kobe Bryant is running the Suns off the court with the rest of his Laker team.
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    Default Re: OT: Arenas Sounds off on his critics and questions Kobe (SI.com)

    Quote Originally Posted by Robertmto View Post
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    0-2, we're doooooooooooooomed
    You can make jokes all you want, but unlike Kstat and the Pistons you guys haven't won a damn thing.

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    Default Re: OT: Arenas Sounds off on his critics and questions Kobe (SI.com)

    Quote Originally Posted by Anthem View Post
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    Agree. This was a good point:


    I don't know about the "ever" comment... people have been playing basketball for a long time. But that's pretty unique over the past 10 years, unless you count Kobe / Shaq.
    I think this is more true of Shaq's game than of Kobe's. You look at those Orlando teams, and Shaq created players like Dennis Scott. Look at the Lakers, and guys like Rick Fox...The Heat, and players like Damon Jones. Those guys had big seasons playing off Shaq. Plus Shaq allowed for players to have huge years (Penny, Nick Anderson, Kobe, D-Wade) while being dominant. When Kobe dominates, it usually doesn't allow for much from anyone else.
    Last edited by NapTonius Monk; 11-03-2007 at 01:02 PM.

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    Default Re: OT: Arenas Sounds off on his critics and questions Kobe (SI.com)

    Quote Originally Posted by Robertmto View Post
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    0-2, we're doooooooooooooomed
    This is a very big year for the Wizards. They can't play like previous years and expect to be a force in the east. Arenas also needs to decide if he wants to stay in Washington this season.

    All that said, it's a whopping 2 games out of 82, but eventually the wizards are going to have to start playing winning basketball.

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    Default Re: OT: Arenas Sounds off on his critics and questions Kobe (SI.com)

    With Gilbert missing the last two months of the year and still feeling out his knee, and Caron missing time late last year, it's to be expected for them to have a little bit of re-adjustment time.

    I mean, they still won't be able to stop anyone (although Haywoode is looking inproved/motivated) but the offense will soon be rolling same as it ever was.

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    Default Re: OT: Arenas Sounds off on his critics and questions Kobe (SI.com)

    I'm not sure that offense is going to be enough this year, though. The east has improved a great deal offensively. They have to play SOME kind of defense, they aren't the only team in the conference that can score anymore.

    It wasn't about being the team everyone loved, it was about beating the teams everyone else loved.

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    Default Re: OT: Arenas Sounds off on his critics and questions Kobe (SI.com)

    Quote Originally Posted by Kstat View Post
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    I'm not sure that offense is going to be enough this year, though. The east has improved a great deal offensively. They have to play SOME kind of defense, they aren't the only team in the conference that can score anymore.
    Yeah...they're not going to the ECF or anything. I'm just saying we shouldn't expect any real drop-off, even with an improved East. With three guys capable of dropping 30 on any given night, they're still good for a 6-seed.

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