Arenas, the MVP?

Ivan planted the seed today, but the question has to examined: Is Gilbert Arenas really the league's most valuable player of the first 30-plus games of the season? Based on the 25th birthday bash he has planned tonight -- featuring Puffy, T.I., Lil' Wayne and The Game -- the Arenas Express Card is certainly the MVPI (most valuable party invitation). I wasn't invited and didn't bother to ask, either. I'm with my man, Nas. Hip-hop is dead. But let's not even worry about that right now. As for the MVP, being the best player at this point in the season is good enough to get you some free mints and a box of matches at a nice restaurant, but I thought it might be good to list the top five candidates, to see just how Arenas stacks up. Here is my list, from one to five.

1. Steve Nash, Phoenix Suns
His Suns are atop the Pacific Division and possess the second best record in the NBA at 23-8. Nash has had the most unusual career arc of any great player, possibly in NBA history. He didn't average 10 points a game until his fifth season in the NBA. And now, in his 11th season, Nash is averaging 20 points for the first time in his career, in addition to leading the league with 11.3 assists per game. He turns 33 next month, but Nash is putting up the best numbers of his career and he appears to be getting better rather than slowing down. He is in position to become the eighth player in NBA history to win three MVP awards could join Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain and Larry Bird as the only players to win the award three years in a row. Chew on that for a minute.

2. Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas Mavericks
Nowitzki's scoring average is the lowest in more than two seasons - 23.3 points - but he is doing what superstars like Allen Iverson have been unable to do throughout their careers - take a step back in scoring, improve in other areas and watch your team win. Nowitzki his taking just 16 shots per game - allowing Josh Howard and Jason Terry to showcase their skills - and he is shooting a career-high 49.3 percent from the field. He is also averaging 9.5 rebounds and 3.1 assists for the Mavericks, who possess the league's best record at 26-7 and have had two 12-game win streaks this season.

3. Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers
It took him awhile to find his legs, but Bryant has elevated his game and is now the league's fourth-leading scorer at 29.1 points per game. He has been able to keep the Lakers (21-11) among the league's elite teams, despite injuries to Lamar Odom, Kwame Brown and Chris Mihm. Bryant, the Western Conference player of the month for December, is shooting a career-high 47.7 percent from the floor and taking about seven fewer shots per game than last season (20.3-27.2), using his rifle arm to dish out more assists (5.3 to 4.5) and involve his teammates more.

4. Gilbert Arenas, Washington Wizards
The Takeover is in effect for the Eastern Conference Assassin. Arenas, the league's third-leading scorer, has posted the highest scoring game of the season (60 points on Bryant and the Lakers) and he is making 30-point nights routine (He has scored 30 points or more in 13 of his past 17 games). Arenas has managed to light up the scoreboard without taking away opportunities for his teammates -- Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison scoring at or close to 20 points per game and Arenas is averaging a career-high 6.4 assists. Arenas has his Wizards in first place in January for the first time in more than 28 years, and he would rank higher on this list if not for a so-so November. Right now his "swag is phenomenal!"

5. LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers
Remember him? If not for those commercials featuring The LeBrons, he hasn't been mentioned much through the first two months of the season. His scoring, rebounds and assists are all down this season, and the Cavaliers have been somewhat of a disappointment, with their inability to defeat some of the league's dregs. But, while James hasn't been spectacular but he's been solid. James is still putting up stellar numbers - 27.2 points, 6.7 rebounds and 6.1 assists - and his team has the second-best record in Eastern Conference despite having to already overcome another Larry Hughes injury.

By Michael Lee |  January 5, 2007; 1:30 PM ET
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Comments

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I would vote for Kobe as MVP. I think it is tough to give any Eastern Conference player MVP because the East is so weak and the Western Conf. guys face much tougher competition night in night out.
In my view the only way Arenas wins the MVP is if the Wizards are a top two seed in the East and finish with a very good record against the West.
I just read Mike Wise's good column about the Wizards and I still think it would be a good move to go after Artest (or any other defensive stopper) because it ought to be about winning a title and not just getting to the conference finals. Everyone that post here knows that you can't win an NBA championship surrendering 106 points a night.

Posted by: George Templeton | January 5, 2007 2:41 PM

"I would vote for Kobe as MVP."

Gerorge, you can't possibly put Kobe ahead of Gilbert when Gil is decisively having a better season then he is. On top of that Gil kicked his butt a few weeks back "head to head" and Kobe acted like a big fat cry baby about it.

The ONLY person I would put ahead of Gil is Dirk Nowitzki. Other then that Gil is MVP for sure, at least right now.

- Ray

Posted by: Ray | January 5, 2007 2:58 PM

Arenas isn't there yet. I want to see him continue to produce consistenly, and more imporatantly the Wizards to continue to consistently win games for at least another month. Boozer is having a monster year and the Jazz went on a tear to start the season, but have since fallen a bit and now no one is mentioning Boozer as an MVP candidate. So let's see how well the Wizards and Arenas can sustain.

The fact that Arenas is even being mentioned as a potential MVP candidate is exciting enough for me right now.

Posted by: Wei | January 5, 2007 3:29 PM

It would be tough to NOT give it to Nash if his numbers go up and his team's record improves. The only competition he has, it seems to me, would be Dirk if Dallas has the best record at the end of the season. Kobe needs to take his team someplace to get consideration.

Posted by: Foo | January 5, 2007 3:49 PM

A couple more months like this past December and I'd have a pretty hard time not giving the award to Arenas. Of course, it's still early in the season.

Posted by: JP | January 5, 2007 3:50 PM

Ah--I mis-read the question.

Based on the first 30 or so games, I'd go with Nash too. You have to take team record into consideration.

Having said that, Arenas has positioned himself very well. In December there wasn't another shooter that I would have taken over Arenas--that includes Kobe.

Posted by: JP | January 5, 2007 4:08 PM

Ray, look at all the injuries the Lakers have had (as Michael Lee points out). And yet at 21-11 they are just a cut below the elite in the West (which is the elite of the league). This is like the LT vs. Brees MVP argument. How can anybody in the Eastern Conference be the MVP if the competition is so much weaker than the West. I am a Gilbert fan like everyone else, but Kobe is doing it in the toughest conference without his big guns period. It's too bad Yao got hurt, I think his MVP credentials would pretty good if he had kept producing at the rate he was.

Posted by: George Templeton | January 5, 2007 4:45 PM

I think I'd rank them Dirk, Nash, then Gil. Dirk is having a great season, and there's really nothing he can't do. Plus, he hit a game-winner in a big game against the Suns that people remember. They won't in May when they vote, but if we're awarding the MVP now, then it's valid. Also, he really has had a good argument for the award for about three years now. It's his time, now that Dallas is clearly the class of the NBA. Nash is #2, because the Suns are nothing without him. Gil is #3 now, but if this type of play continues and we get up to maybe 52 wins at the end of the season, how can he not be MVP?

Posted by: tp | January 5, 2007 4:52 PM

right now at least it is nash then gil. and that's it. kobe has no chance. dirk is having nice season, but he will never win because he is german. lebron has a chance, i think better chance than kobe or dirk.

but i say nash, then gil.

Posted by: poptart | January 5, 2007 5:12 PM

Not to be flip, but who cares? What does an MVP award get you? It's about wins and losses, playoff runs and hopefully at some point, a championship.

Fans the media get so caught up in meaningless awards and I've never understood why. It's a team game. It's very easy to see where you stand by looking at the standings. I sincerely hope (and gratefully, I believe) that Gil would trade 10 All Star games, MVP's, and a spot in the Springfield for the Larry O'brien. And that's what matters.

You think Tim Duncan cares about MVP's? Or Bird, Magic, Jordan or Russell did? They were great team players -- great leaders who elevated the play of their teammates. That's why the were recognized as MVP's.

Posted by: Ben | January 5, 2007 5:49 PM

It's interesting that we're all obviously Wizard fans, yet no one here is blindly pushing Arenas for MVP.

Thoughtful, objective, and realistic? Man, we are pathetic fans, aren't we.

Posted by: Wei | January 5, 2007 5:58 PM

Wait a second, I forgot about Ray.

Posted by: Wei | January 5, 2007 6:00 PM

"Nash is #2, because the Suns are nothing without him."

I dunno, Amare and Marion are no joke.

I like Nash a lot and yes some of his passes are out of this world, but his defense is lacking.

"It's too bad Yao got hurt, I think his MVP credentials would pretty good if he had kept producing at the rate he was."

Now that I would definately make a case for George. I really like Yao and when he was healthy he was really dominating.

I just don't think it's Kobe right now and if it were between him and Dirk, then Dirk would get it. The guy is 7ft tall and can hit from anywhere on the floor, drive, rebound, and play D. What more do you want?

Being realistic, any of those guys are deserving but Gil is playing at such a high level. Do I think he would get MVP? Nope. But not because he's not deserving of it, but because of popularity. Look at the All-Star returns and that should be enough to tell you.

Then you're probably loooking at Kobe.

;)

Please go vote for all the Wizards for the 2007 NBA All Star game NOW at:

http://www.nba.com/allstar2007/asb/eng/ballot.html?from=sweeps

- Ray

Posted by: Ray | January 5, 2007 6:09 PM

"Wait a second, I forgot about Ray."

Gil is the "Hibachi" how could you argue with that? ;)

- Ray

Posted by: Ray | January 5, 2007 6:11 PM

Last thing....

Wiz win a close one tonight AT HOME but Brand has 30 points and 20 boards.

Go Wiz!

- Ray

Posted by: Ray | January 5, 2007 6:13 PM

Well Wei I think what you will find about the posters here, is that most of us are hardcore hoop fans who happen to love the Boulez as opposed to just fans who pathetically slurp their team.

Posted by: George Templeton | January 5, 2007 6:22 PM

Sorry to be a spoiler but I think we will lose tonight....too much party and MVP hype this week.

Posted by: Lisa | January 5, 2007 6:42 PM

You might be right Lisa, freakin' Clippers swept the Wizards last year and the second game in L.A. was a blowout. I hope Arenas isn't already thinking about the babes at his party.

Posted by: George Templeton | January 5, 2007 6:56 PM

How about that play by Arenas at the end of the half. I worship the ground Hibachi walks on. And even though I am not one of those who believe he should be MVP, it is pretty sweet to hear those MVP chants at the Verizon Center and say to yourself, "Yeah that actually could happen." When was the last time a Bullets/Wizards fan could say that!

Posted by: George Templeton | January 5, 2007 8:18 PM

I honestly don't understand how you guys can vote for Nash over Gil. Tonight's game should have been more proof of him deserving it.

Gilbert will be there at the end of the year for MVP honors.

I really don't think I'm being biased with this, he's so amazing.

Dirk ahead of Gil, but not by far.

Please go vote for all the Wizards for the 2007 NBA All Star game NOW at:

http://www.nba.com/allstar2007/asb/eng/ballot.html?from=sweeps

- Ray

Posted by: Ray | January 5, 2007 9:34 PM

Let's just say "We are all Witnesses" :-)

Posted by: Lisa | January 5, 2007 9:37 PM

And we can't even get Gilbert on to the all-star team. Damn everyone who loves Vince Carter. Damn them all!

Posted by: George Templeton | January 5, 2007 9:38 PM

The only reason why I'd say Nash over Arenas is because of November. Arenas started slow--in part because it took Stevenson a while to fit into the flow of the starting rotation--and the Wiz just didn't deliver the goods--especially on the road.

If Arenas keeps it up though, and the Wizards keep winning, he's going to get some serious consideration at the end of the season. Tonight's game wasn't a bad start . . .

Posted by: JP | January 5, 2007 10:12 PM

In Gil we trust...enough said.

Posted by: Mike | January 5, 2007 10:15 PM

Check this out, Wiz in top 5 with Dallas, Phoenix, Utah and SA. The only team from thew East in the elite company. Feels good, doesn't it?

http://www.nba.com/powerrankings/

Posted by: rurikbird | January 5, 2007 10:22 PM

Wow rurikbird, seeing those power rankings made me a little dizzy. And thanks for linking to that because of the linking to Gilbert's game-winner. I can't see that highlight enough.

Posted by: George Templeton | January 5, 2007 10:27 PM

Gil really took charge tonight after that 1st quarter. He is so hot now that he's not just getting double teamed, he's getting triple teamed and everyone is watching out when he gets the ball. Even against Quinton Ross, the Clippers were still trying to help out as much as possible. And Gil played like the MVP candidate that he is and got others involved (12 assists) and when he needed to retain momentum, he took the tough shots and made them. Unbelievable... What an awesome performance.

Posted by: Going G.A.G.A. over Gilbert | January 5, 2007 11:01 PM

10-1

Posted by: Mike | January 5, 2007 11:13 PM

Posted by: Victor | January 5, 2007 11:30 PM

Gil should be the MVP. Why? The meaning of MVP is the MOST VALUEABLE PLAYER of there team. take away all top 5 canadates and the wizards suck. The other teams still make the play-offs. Thats the way u should look at it.

Posted by: quik | January 6, 2007 12:40 AM

This week there's been a lot of talk from blog regulars about how the Wiz can't get that far into the playoffs because we just don't play D, and after tonight's game, I was struck by something -- we don't play traditional half-court D for sure, but we (IMO) more than make up for it in steals that are converted into transition buckets.

We *lead the league* in takeaway/giveaway differential, by almost 2 full steals a game. Tonight's game is a perfect example: we got out rebounded 51-36, but we forced 20 turnovers, grabbed 14 steals, and converted that into 25 points.

Thoughts?

Posted by: Gack | January 6, 2007 1:13 AM

Posted by: rurikbird | January 6, 2007 1:18 AM

Gack your point is a good one and I do agree with you that the Wizards can get far in the playoffs, but isn't that because the NBA has made it tougher for teams that only play good defense or primarily played good defense to advance.
And even if that is true, at the end of the day the Wizards can't win the title with their defense and that is what we ultimately want to see.

Posted by: George Templeton | January 6, 2007 1:20 AM

Rurikbird that was awesome! Thank you! Thank you! I am glad I didn't watch it live because seeing whoever it was for the Bucks get that open look in the corner would have caused me to have Mo Williams flashbacks and I might have had a coronary!

Posted by: George Templeton | January 6, 2007 1:24 AM

"we don't play traditional half-court D for sure..."

That's why the Wiz never beat Miami or NJ, it's all about the match-ups.

As much as I love Gil, the Wiz need to play better team D if they really want to go deep into the playoffs(per BK). Haywood gives them so much under the basket on the defensive side, even if it's mediocre to the rest of the league.

Booth seems to be playing better though. He's still slow as dirt though. ;)

Again, lots can happen between now and then so it's a little early to be talking playoffs.

If Caron doesn't make the All-Star team this year it's truly a crime.

- Ray

Posted by: Ray | January 6, 2007 1:31 AM

hip hop isn't dead.. you just have to look a little harder to find what you like. ;-)

Posted by: hmmmmm | January 6, 2007 1:33 AM

George Templeton

If you happened to have a coronary at that moment, you would have missed Gilbert's game-tying three and Wiz win in overtime ;-). So it wouldn't be such a good idea :-P

Posted by: rurikbird | January 6, 2007 3:01 AM

The Takeover....

Posted by: PTP23 | January 6, 2007 3:24 AM

Gilbert isn't even the MVP of his own team. That title belongs to Caron, who's brought it every night, all 32 games. He's Mr. Consistency, doesn't disappear when he's not hot. 26 for 35 in his last 2 games.

The MVP of the league is clearly Kobe, that team is dominating and he's their only good player. Take Kobe off that team, they'd have 8 wins. Take Gilbert off the Wiz, they still have Caron and Jamison, probably a .500 team, which would put them in 2nd place.

Posted by: Mike | January 6, 2007 7:48 AM

Mike using that logic, then don't forget to throw in that they are in the SouthEast where they could still be in 2nd place.

Posted by: Victor | January 6, 2007 9:31 AM

Kobe missed the first two games of the season and the Lakers won those, so those can be two of the eight, Mike.
It can't be the case that the MVP should be given to the guy who plays for a team that, if he is taken off the team, will stink. If that were the case, Iverson should have pushed for a trade to Charlotte, or Joe Johnson or Michael Redd should be serious MVP candidates.

Posted by: Sean | January 6, 2007 9:35 AM

I agree, MVP is not a team award. It shouldn't be about teamates. It's about who has the best game in the NBA right now. For my money I don't think there is anyoneone playing better than Gilbert. Does that mean he wins MVP, i dunno, but it's fun to think about.

I agree caron may have a more well rounded game in some ways, but I think that a lot of what is happening with the wiz right now is initiated by Gilbert. He is just unreal right now. I mean, 35 points is a slow night!

Posted by: greg | January 6, 2007 10:20 AM

It might be real difficult to put Zero lower than third...at this point. Michael's point about Nash is dead on--he does get better as he gets older, but let's remind ourselves of this--Gil just turned 25. HE IS NOT AT HIS ATHLETIC PRIME YET, and won't see that for at least another three years. I would have Gil behind Nash and Nowitzki, but in the coming years?

Posted by: Scot | January 6, 2007 10:23 AM

Mike,

I'd be the first to tell you that Caron is the most well rounded player on our team but there is no way he gets the MVP over Gil. He's not just having his two best seasons in the NBA by coincidence, a lot of it has to do w/ Gil and to a lesser extent, Antawn.

Gil detractors will say that he doesn't shoot a very high percentage compared to some of the other superstars. Well, it's deceiving and here is why. 1 - He isn't as big as some of the best superstars out there except for Nash and Iverson, of which only Nash has a higher shooting percentage career wise. 2 - Historically, you'd have a hard time finding PGs that shot a high percentage compared to other superstars that play the other positions. Size is a reason because it's much tougher for them to convert shots in the paint against much bigger opponents. They usually have to initiate the offense first and be playmakers for their teammates. Then when the clock is winding down, they're more than likely the one who has to put up a tough shot. All of that and Gil's TRUE shooting percentage is quite high when you factor in all those 3 point shots he takes and makes.

Caron's strength is being able to play w/o dominating the ball and still being super effective and aggressive feeding off the attention that Gil gets. He is the ultimate secondary player on the Wiz's team, taking Antawn's spot from last year. It's been a pleasure watching not just Gil grow in front of our eyes, but Caron as well.

Posted by: Going G.A.G.A. over Gilbert | January 6, 2007 10:44 AM

We are all witness to The Takeover!

Posted by: Rook | January 6, 2007 10:47 AM

Winning MVP is going to be very tough for Gil even though he is arguably the best candidate out there SO FAR. The other candidates and their teams have a better record than the Wiz and no doubt been the biggest cog in their team's success, but Gil has been as well. The biggest plus was that in those games vs. those teams and MVP candidates, Gil has shown that he outshined them and brought victory to our team. All victories vs. Nash's Suns, Dirk's Mavs, and Kobe's Lakers. It's a very tight race but it's still too early to say...nonetheless when was the last time we said MVP and Bullets/Wizard in the same sentence? :D

Posted by: Going G.A.G.A. over Gilbert | January 6, 2007 10:57 AM

IC,

We can't get enough of the locker room reporting that you, Michael, and Dan have done for the Post. Thanks for bringing us all those great quotes and keep them coming!

The team is showing so much chemistry and are having a lot of fun playing together, it really shows. Funny, lighthearted character guys all around makes it a tighter knit group. They will play better and better not just for themselves but for each other. That's what will bring them further and further as the season goes along. Helping and covering for each other in certain game situations.

Posted by: Going G.A.G.A. over Gilbert | January 6, 2007 11:15 AM

Ray,

You said, "That's why the Wiz never beat Miami or NJ, it's all about the match-ups". With the way the Wiz are playing right now, I don't see how you can make that blanket statement. This is the best the Wiz have played in many years. They're scoring out of their minds, and every starter is playing at a high level (although Deshawn was seriously off last night). Shaq ain't what he was, and won't be, even when he comes back. Miami is very, very old and very, very slow, even with Flash playing great. As for the Nets, I'll take our big three over their big three right now. The records reflect that, as well. I mean, they can't even play .500 ball in the worst division the league has ever seen. We match up with anyone, as long as Brendan can keep getting it done in the middle, and Andray can keep his rebounding/defending mindset going.

Posted by: Keithinator | January 6, 2007 11:28 AM

Hey, Michael,

I saw you on Quite Frankly last night talking about the possibility of the Wizards making it to the Finals and about how great Gil is playing. Of course, Screamin' Stephen did not really agree with you but I did. Good job!

Posted by: Lisa | January 6, 2007 1:06 PM

"Gilbert isn't even the MVP of his own team."

Mike, that's a pretty "out there" statement man. Caron is awesome and I love his game but if he goes down the win some games. If Gil goes down, they'd be hard pressed to win any.

One thing Caron does is force teams to play man to man where they can't double team Gil. He's definately valuable from that stand point. The Bucks played zone, not man to man and it affected the Wiz's play. It took a game winning shot to beat the Bucks. The Wiz should be worried about this.

"This is the best the Wiz have played in many years."

Absolutely, the best in 20 years. But they haven't won anything and NJ and the Heat have their number. Why? They both play a solid half court game and when you slow the tempo down the Wiz have problems.

They can go far, but it's still too early to call that right now. I'm being reserved about anything until it's actually happening. One bad shooting night and they lose. This is STILL a pure jump shooting team, remember that.

The playoffs are SO different.

I think the win against the Clips was huge because they have two great inside guys in Kaman and Brand. Cassell didn't play, but a big win never the less.

Who knows, maybe they get ALL the breaks this year and win the whole thing. God knows they deserve it, and so do we.

By the way, the Wiz lost most if not all of thier Sunday games last year. They play tomorrow.

Please go vote for all the Wizards for the 2007 NBA All Star game NOW at:

http://www.nba.com/allstar2007/asb/eng/ballot.html?from=sweeps

- Ray

Posted by: Ray | January 6, 2007 2:40 PM

None of this back and forth matters-It's too early. Check back at the end of the season. The MVP always goes to the player on the best teams. If the Wizards become one of the top teams, the Takeover will be complete.

Posted by: PTP23 | January 6, 2007 2:43 PM

Ray makes a good point regarding if Gil or Caron is the MVP. Stat: Wizards are 16-1 when Gil scores 30 or more. If Gil's not playing that equals 0- and probably a record like the Heat.

Posted by: PTP23 | January 6, 2007 2:54 PM

Greg, the MVP absolutely relates to your team. It's not "Best Player," it's "Most Valuable Player." The key word is valuable, it's about value to the team. These arguments come up every year, and I've never figured out why. If you want to argue with the fact that it's an MVP award rather than a BP award, then fine. But arguing that the MVP has nothing to do with a player's team is just factually incorrect.

And Sean: no, Iverson should not have pushed for a trade to Charlotte, because being the MVP is not as important to him as winning a championship. Plus Iverson wouldn't get the MVP in Charlotte anyways because he wouldn't make the team good enough (unlike Kobe, who has made the Lakers into a top 5 in the NBA team without any surrounding talent). I've never understood with obsession with the MVP title in this city. Who cares if Gilbert is the MVP, what on earth does it matter? I blame the Washington Post for this one, but that MVP chant at last night's game was disdainful and embarassing.

Posted by: Mike | January 6, 2007 3:06 PM

PTP, by that argument, I could say that Haywood is the MVP. 10-1 with B-Hay as the starter. He doesn't even have to score 30, he just has to start to affect the game.

Posted by: Mike | January 6, 2007 3:08 PM

Whoa there buddy. Disdainful and embarrasing? Lets not get excessive. Any top 5 talent on solid team who ends a ridiculous half the way Gil did deserves any chants his fans decide to give him. Those chants were fun to hear.

Bottem line - MVP does mean something. It means respect for a player, his team, and his city - something we havent had here in a long time. In addition it means Gil would be generating even more revenue for this area. So dont tell us it doesnt mean anything. We dont need to be reminded that its all about winning a championship, EVERYONE on this blog knows that. But we also know what comes with having an MVP.

Anyway you slice it, having an MVP candidate is just plain fun. leave it at that.

This whole "we are a jump shooting team" theory is starting to lose its merit also. We are the NUMBER ONE team in free throw attempts. That means we pound it inside a lot. I will agree that we take a lot of jump shots, though.

So how do you explain all of this? its simple: we score a lot (quickly), and give up a lot on D. So that means we just have a large amount of possessions per game. That means we do a lot of BOTH pounding inside and jumpshooting.

Posted by: Ray Chris. | January 6, 2007 4:58 PM

"...but that MVP chant at last night's game was disdainful and embarassing."

Are you kidding?

It was awesome and I hope the WP pushes more for Gil. If Wilbon starts putting it in print then it gets national attention, I think that's why everyone has been on him so much here.

You've clearly not been around here very long or don't like the Wiz, there's been some lean years here so all of this is a really good and a positive thing.

Look at Cleveland with Lebron. "We're all witnesses." What the heck is that? Do you think they are saying "Man, that's so disdainful and embarassing!"?

Good grief they even have a building size banner of him outside.

It goes deeper with that after the season when it comes to signing players or trades. For years NO ONE wanted to come to DC, but now that's changed. People are going to want to play with Gil and come here.

I can't think of one thing wrong with that. Even BK should agree with that. ;)

Stop being grumpy. :P

"That means we pound it inside a lot."

No the Wiz really aren't. Yes, lots of free throws but it's because the Wiz are a FAST team. Gilbert gets most of his fouls off the dribble if you've noticed. The only two players who drive to the hole anymore are Caron and AD. Haywood gets his chances, but not very many. How many times do you see the Wiz attempting a 3 point play? Not many, they usually get the 1 and 1.

ALL of the Wizard's are contributing in thier own way right now. Haywood is giving them and inside presense; Jamison gives them veteran stability; Caron is having an All-Star year which means you can't double Gil; Stevenson chimes in with 10 points or so and makes that "fart" wave with this hand. ;)

What is REALLY cool is the bench is even playing better right now. Has anyone even noticed that? Booth has been improving and so has Blatche. AD is AD, he can get the the line at the end of the game.

Hayes.....that's a rough one. ;)

Dudes are even still hurt right now. Maybe Etan can stay healthy enough for the rest of the year and MAYBE(although a stretch) Songaila come back for the playoffs. How great would that be? Even if they play a couple minutes a game?

But hands down it's Gilbert who makes this ship sail. When the Wiz were losing Gilbert wasn't Gilbert and everyone noticed. We talked about it a lot on here. But when he started playing well everyone else did also.

He raised the level of everyone elses game and that's what an MVP does.

Good job on TV Michael Lee, keep pushing for Gil!

- Ray

Posted by: Ray | January 6, 2007 6:28 PM

We should enjoy this ride as long as we can.
If & when the bench picks up the bodies & the play & the starters get to reduce their minutes by 4 (Nash plays 36 minutes), then I think I'll be a little more @ ease.

Peace every1. Looking forward to Toronto & a win on Sunday.

Posted by: Victor | January 6, 2007 6:49 PM

After the way Blatche played against the Bucks I hope he starts getting more minutes. He could be a real wild card for this team later in the year.

Posted by: George Templeton | January 6, 2007 6:58 PM

lets not split hairs here. "pound it inside", "take it to the rack", "drive to the bucket" - they all basically mean the same thing. and the wizards do that. Just because we dont feed a big man at the beginning of every possession doesnt mean we dont pound it inside. While its our guards and forwards that attack the rim (as opposed to our centers/PFs doing it)it's still attacking the rim no matter who does it.

So you're saying Arenas doesnt attack the rim, and we dont get 3 point plays?!? I am not sure what games you have been watching.

Gil knifes through the lane every game and we get and-1's ALL the time.

Posted by: Ray Chris. | January 6, 2007 7:24 PM

Good old Canadian Steve Nash...for the third time in a row!!!! I'm biased, but even Ivan agrees ranked him #1.

Posted by: Oz | January 6, 2007 9:02 PM

Isn't nice to be able to have an MVP argument??? lol...it's a beautiful thing.
I will only say NOBODY is playing better than Arenas in the league the last month and a half or so. NOBODY! Game winning shots, carrying the team on his back for big chunks of games etc.... Somebody said this is a .500 team without Arenas. No way!!! This team does not make the playoffs even in the East without Gilbert. Butler's numbers go down as well as Jamison's bc the D can focus on them more and there is not engine driving the team anymore. The depth and defense problems would really be exposed. I see Phoenix and Dallas as playoff caliber without Nash or Dirk. Maybe not championship caliber, but playoff caliber without them. We would probably be in line to get Oden without Arenas. I don't even see how you argue against this at all. As far as Kobe is concerned even though I think he is an a$$ and always has been, he is doing a better job of making his team better ala Jordan.
But to say Odom, Walton, Radmonivic, Bynum, Kwame, etc are at least decent is crazy. Plus, they have Jackson who is one of the best coaches ever and he is proving it more this year than perhaps some of those championship years. Kwame can definitely play some interior D even though he still is inconsistent in many other areas. Even EJ begudgingly admitted that Kwame was our best interior defender as he was on his way to LA.

Posted by: Rob P | January 6, 2007 9:14 PM

"So you're saying Arenas doesnt attack the rim, and we dont get 3 point plays?!?"

Not the argument at all.

His argunment was that the Wiz are a "pound it inside" team and I disagree. Just because Gilbert gets the "and 1" doesn't mean the rest of the team does. They are fast and get fouled off the dribble, not because everyone goes to the hole every time. The Wiz are predominately a jump shooting team.

I've been watching the Bullets/Wiz and been going to the games since the 70's. Trust me, I'm not a fair weather fan.

- Ray

Posted by: Ray | January 6, 2007 9:23 PM

Err, YOUR agument. :)

- Ray

Posted by: Ray | January 6, 2007 9:24 PM

I don't remember th 70's bc I was too young so at least you saw the Unseld era, Ray. Nice! I remember from the early eighties and we have always sucked. So, I'm less of a fair weather fan...lol.

This team is what it is, but at least we are fun and winners and good people too!!!

You did say, I believe, that if our shots aren't falling we lose. Isn't that the case with anybody? I know what your driving at though.

If we had Etan available, do you think EJ would play Haywood and Etan at the same time to stop or slow down the Brand/Kaman combo? I don't think he ever would, which is the sort of thing that really frustrates me about EJ. Why not play Haywood, Etan, Jamison, Butler, and Arenas? I think it would work. Jamison on Brand is a joke and sometimes you have to adjust to protect players weaknesses or matchup problems. Arenas, Butler, Jamison are an automatic matchup problem and nothing that EJ coaches or creates.

Posted by: Rob P | January 6, 2007 9:36 PM

I love Caron and he is probably the "missing piece" this team needed to take it to the next level -- his toughness and workmanlike consistency were sorely lacking before he arrived, and they've rubbed off nicely on nearly everybody else on the team.

Here's why Gil is still the MVP, though. It's not just about the scoring, although that's hard to deny. It's about his "swag". It's about his "hibachi". It's about the subzero icewater running through his veins this year.

It's about the game-winners, the facials he nails where he "pulls up from Greensboro". It's about embarrassing Kobe on his home court, and lighting up the Suns on theirs.

In a nutshell, it's about a player who plays for OUR team, who is essentially unstoppable.

As a Bullets fan from the 80's on, I routinely recall watching Jordan come to town and wax Ledell and Hot Plate, and you could just see it in Jordan's eyes, that regardless of the fact that we had held him to a "bad game" because he only dropped 35 on us, he was going to win the game, he willed it to be so.

I always wondered what it was like to be a Bulls fan and watch games knowing that Mike would find a way to pull it out no matter what. I even bitterly lamented that probably, it just made the games boring.

Well, now we've all tasted what that's like, and I think we can all agree that it ain't boring.

Posted by: Gack | January 6, 2007 10:05 PM

"The only two players who drive to the hole anymore are Caron and AD."

"How many times do you see the Wiz attempting a 3 point play? Not many, they usually get the 1 and 1."

I'm not sure how else we were supposed to read that.

I'm not saying the wizards are a pound it inside team - I'm saying that they just do it a lot...and enough that we are UNable to characterize them as simply a jump shooting team. IMO the wizards have found a (reasonably) happy medium between both ends of the spectrum. that is my argument.

BTW - Nobody here was questioning whether you are a fair weather fan or not (I have my season package as well). This sounds like an argument that should be settled at the acela club.

For now though, agree to disagree.

Posted by: Ray Chris. | January 6, 2007 10:22 PM

Hayes on his shot: "When they start falling, they'll start falling in bunches, I know it. I'm going to help this team."

The part that was edited out: "Then I always wake up."

Posted by: Learned Hand | January 7, 2007 12:23 AM

Mike,

The games Haywood has started just happen to coincide with the month Gilbert has been player of the month-not Haywood.

Posted by: PTP23 | January 7, 2007 12:29 AM

Eddie seemed to give Blanche the quick hook last night after he had that lane violation with Kayman at the foul line. The quick hook was back.

Posted by: PTP23 | January 7, 2007 12:35 AM

Gotta disagree with Rob P about early 80s Bullets teams sucking. No bench then, a troubled John Lucas, but Ruland, Mahorn, and Frank Johnson "played their guts out" (as one in town might say).

Coach of the year went to Gene Shue for '81-'82 (the last time this organization had a winning record on the road). Granted, their record was about the same as last year's Wiz team, but they went 21 and 20 on the road (the Cap Centre in those days was often filled with more fans of the opposing teams - those bastards - which may be one reason their record was only slightly better at home).

The early to late 80s was marred by injuries, bad trades, and an owner not willing to pay some guys.

The 80s were indeed better than anything until 2 seasons ago, however.

Posted by: Shotgun | January 7, 2007 12:56 AM

PTP: The Wiz going 10-1 with Haywood starting did not "just happen." Please. Give the man some respect.

Posted by: Mike | January 7, 2007 2:44 AM

Haywood has been working his butt off and he deserves the credit. You can't ignore the double doubles he's been putting up.

Blatche getting the quick hook is worrisome. Let the kid play. You have to wonder if Eddie is going to bury Blatche on the bench once people start getting healthy.

Posted by: Ray Chris. | January 7, 2007 12:46 PM

Haywood is Wizard's MVP.

Posted by: PTP23 | January 7, 2007 3:23 PM

Oh well..Blanche appears back in the EJ doghouse. It was nice while it lasted.

Posted by: PTP23 | January 7, 2007 3:27 PM

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