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The Saga Continues...

It's a question that comes my way more than any other and it's not : "Hey Ivan, what's up?"

"When is Gilbert coming back?"

My response is usually the same: "Man, I have no idea and neither does anyone else."

That, folks, is the real deal here. As you may know, Caron Butler recently was on the John Thompson show (I guess Clinton Portis wasn' t available) where he stated his belief that Arenas isn't coming back this season. This just a few days after Butler said he did think Gilbert would be back. Go figure.

Here's the deal: no one really knows. I've heard so many different things, my head is going to explode. Here is what I do know:

- Gilbert isn't rushing back. He feels that he's been burned twice now by coming back too quickly or by rushing through rehab and it's not going to happen again, especially not for a a seven-win lottery bound team. Even if the team's medical people come to him and say: "you're cleared," expect Arenas to be very cautious. Remember, he was "cleared" early last season and then re-injured himself and had to undergo another surgery.

- The team (Ernie Grunfeld and the Pollin family) absolutely want Arenas back on the floor when he's ready (whenever that is and however that is defined). With Grunfeld's strong urging, Pollin gave the guy $111 million and now he has a badly performing team and a building with no sizzle and smaller crowds by the night. My colleague at the Times, Mike Jones, said a couple of his friends walked up and bought $88 seats for $10 bucks a piece the other night.

I believe it. It's not good for business and it certainly isn't going to help sell season ticket packages for next season if Arenas hasn't played at all this season. I know a few folks feel ripped off as it is.

Stay tuned......

By Ivan Carter  |  January 10, 2009; 11:19 AM ET
 | Tags: Gilbert Arenas, injury  
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Next: The Other Side: Charlotte Bobcats

Comments

I'm beginning to think maybe Gilbert should stay out the entire year, to give that knee a full chance to heal thoroughly.

He's not going to save anything by coming back now or a month from now. This season is lost.

While sitting in a chair, Gilbert was showing off his knee to Comcast several weeks ago, and I watched the clip with the sound turned off. He had something sticking straight up, almost like half a pencil, underneath the skin when he bent that knee. It was trying to push itself through the skin, and it was ugly.

After all-star break, start playing the rookies regularly, and wait for next year.

Posted by: loulor | January 10, 2009 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Given EG's track record(NY,MIL.)he'd better right this situation in a hurry the clock's got to be ticking(not fast enough for some of us!)and nothing would please me more then to see him get the boot after the bull s#*t he pulled with EJ. Ernie Grunfeld is a snake and Tapscott not much better(a horrible coach)as i stated before he and his lap dog interim coach have made this a season of misery for the long time fans of this franchise.

Posted by: dargregmag | January 10, 2009 12:10 PM | Report abuse

i disagree. Gilbert does need to come back this year. Not to win games and not to play major minutes but he needs to get some game experience before next season.

Even if its only 10-20 minutes a game in the last quarter of the season it will help shake some of the rust off.

If he wait until next season he virtual goes 2 seasons with no real play in his legs.

Posted by: riskus | January 10, 2009 12:14 PM | Report abuse

This organization is in limbo until they find out what Arenas has or is capable of providing.

Until they get a read on that, they really can't make any major moves.

And that includes, it seems to me, giving more minutes to the younger players and rookies.

Quite a mess they're in.

Posted by: SteveMG | January 10, 2009 12:19 PM | Report abuse

After all-star break, start playing the rookies regularly, and wait for next year.

Posted by: loulor | January 10, 2009 11:47 AM
-----------------------------------
And that includes, it seems to me, giving more minutes to the younger players and rookies.

Posted by: SteveMG | January 10, 2009 12:19 PM


The young players are getting 80-100 minutes a night. That's 1/3 to near 1/2 of the available minutes.

they got 98 last night.

AJ and CB get close to 80 minutes a night. The rest of the vets get the remaining minutes. 60-80 a night.

I wish this blog had emoticons so I could roll my eyes.

Posted by: jones-y | January 10, 2009 1:28 PM | Report abuse

The young players are getting 80-100 minutes a night. That's 1/3 to near 1/2 of the available minutes.

Well, first of all, we're mostly talking about McGee and Crittenton. Toss in Pecherov to see what he has. McGee above all else.

Second, this is about consistent minutes over longer stretches. Not 20 minutes one game, 8 the next, none the third and then back to 20. And not being pulled the first time they make a mistake.

Posted by: SteveMG | January 10, 2009 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Their minutes have been consistent recently (meaning the last month or more). AB NY and DMac have been getting consistent minutes since Taps took over.

Critt, the late addition, has been getting consistent minutes over the last few games. He spent his first couple of weeks with the organization on the bench learning the system.

So that's 4 of 6.

JMcGee will get his turn. More than likely this season, after the allstar break. Way more than likely.

Pech may or may not get his turn. But if he can consistently hit his first two shots when he gets in (LOL), I can't imagine him getting 25 more DNPs the rest of the season.

And by the way, if you guys meant consistent minutes all along, then why on earth haven't you all been saying that??? Maybe because you all didn't?

Posted by: jones-y | January 10, 2009 2:12 PM | Report abuse

And by the way, if you guys meant consistent minutes all along, then why on earth haven't you all been saying that??? Maybe because you all didn't?

There have been dozens of complaints here about young guys getting inconsistent minutes, about being pulled after one mistake, about disappearing after the first quarter, about ET's "7-game" segmentation...

Posted by: SteveMG | January 10, 2009 2:25 PM | Report abuse

No there haven't. The complaints have been about minutes, not inconsistent minutes. I've read (almost) all of them... As far as I can tell (I've watched all but maybe 2 games), with the exception of about a 5-6 game stretch where NY's minutes were down (right before ETap 'took off the reins' - and even during that stretch his minutes were CONSISTENTLY down) their minutes HAVE BEEN steady over the past 24 games since ETap took over.

No one has been saying a word about consistency. There has been consistency. I don't see an issue with consistency. In fact, ETap is miles more consistent with minutes (with respect to the young players that is) than EJ ever was.

You could maybe make an argument about being pulled after a mistake, but it'd be a slim argument, aside from the NY situation I mentioned above.

Posted by: jones-y | January 10, 2009 4:07 PM | Report abuse

AB NY and DM have been getting consistent minutes. And recently JC, the new guy who's been here all of, what, 15 games? JM and OP are consistently getting no minutes (much to the chagrin (whether rightly or wrongly so...) of the folks here.

Consistency.

In fact the only players not getting consistent minutes are ET and JD. They get 20 minutes and then a DNP the next 2-3 games. No consistency there. Consistency everywhere else with respect to playing time.

Posted by: jones-y | January 10, 2009 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Its really ridiculous when you think about it. Its as if everyone wants ETap to go to a 6 (young) man rotation...

I'll give you all this, you can clearly see the forest (in other words the young players need minutes and need to be developed) but you can't see the trees that make up the forest (individually and collectively they are for the most part getting consistent minutes and being developed -

Granted some of that development is taking place away from our prying eyes, but you are all fools if you think JM and OP are not 'being developed'. Is it perhaps a coinkydink that OP did not look lost out there last night?

Posted by: jones-y | January 10, 2009 4:20 PM | Report abuse

All you guys saying Gil shouldn't come back this year are foolish as hell. He DEFINITELY needs to wait till he's absolutely healthy, but if he is he needs to come back this year.

He needs to watch his minutes carefully but he's got to use the rest of this season to get his rust off, so that next year he can get into this thing back to 100% as Agent Zero.

If he doesn't we'll all be whining this time next year about how long it took him to get back to normal form. Even healthy it takes time to get back to 100% game shape and rather than using the beginning of next year to do that he needs to do it this year.

Posted by: insanity999 | January 10, 2009 4:49 PM | Report abuse

No there haven't. The complaints have been about minutes, not inconsistent minutes. I've read (almost) all of them...

Sorry, that's simply not true.

The complaints here are that ET (and to a lesser extent Jordan) has been pulling the young guys too quickly after a mistake, not letting them work through their errors, playing them haphazardly with no set or established rotations.

I've seen post-after-post saying "Why didn't ET play "X"? Or "Why did he pull "X" after the first quarter?" and similar sentiments.

Let's let the other regulars who post here give their judgment as to the complaints.

FWIW, my own complaint has more to do with when the young players are played and not just their minutes. E.g., McGee should always be matched up against a team's second center and not their first.

Posted by: SteveMG | January 10, 2009 5:50 PM | Report abuse

Free T-Shirt

Fire Ernie

email erniegone@hotmail.com

Posted by: erniegone | January 10, 2009 6:13 PM | Report abuse

I've seen post-after-post saying "Why didn't ET play "X"? Or "Why did he pull "X" after the first quarter?" and similar sentiments.

And the answer is always "because ET consistently doesn't play X" or "X consistently gets pulled after the first quarter". There are rotation issues, I'm not denying that there are. None of those issues is consistency.

Truth is, whenever you see the phrases 'young players' and 'minutes' you never see the word 'consistent' and you almost always see the word 'more'. Because there is no consistency issue. At lease for the last half of the season to date.

In fact, the only issue concerning 'young players' and 'minutes' is Javale McGee (and to a lesser extent OP, although he clearly is not ready either). And that's what bugs me. I'm tired of "we need to focus on developing our young players" when we clearly are.

And I'm particularly irked by the tireless claim that we are not playing the young players enough, when the numbers clearly demonstrate that they constitute almost half of the roster (6 of 13) and they get almost half of the minutes... Its exasperating.

If you guys wanna moan about JM, fine. Fair enough. We disagree on his readiness and the usefulness to play him right now and that's fine. But the above claims about 'young players' and 'minutes' are baseless, and unless you can't interpret box scores and average statistics, then you know darned well that you are already getting what you are begging for...

Posted by: jones-y | January 10, 2009 6:24 PM | Report abuse

And while we're on JM, if he's not getting at least 15-20mpg after the all star break in another 6 weeks, then I will probably join the rising chorus concerning his development and his PT. But not now.

He's being developed. He's got 15 games of film to study on himself. Normally that's too small a sample to be useful, but in this scenario (his career is 35 games old), its plenty IMO.

Posted by: jones-y | January 10, 2009 6:39 PM | Report abuse

And SteveMG, stop shifting your position:

"And that includes, it seems to me, giving more minutes to the younger players and rookies."

"Well, first of all, we're mostly talking about McGee and Crittenton. Toss in Pecherov to see what he has. McGee above all else.

Second, this is about consistent minutes over longer stretches."

"FWIW, my own complaint has more to do with when the young players are played and not just their minutes."

Posted by: jones-y | January 10, 2009 6:45 PM | Report abuse

There are rotation issues, I'm not denying that there are. None of those issues is consistency.

Rotation issues/changes have nothing to do with consistency?

Nothing?

If ET is haphazardly changing rotations then that obviously means he's not being consistent with his player usage.

If young guys are being pulled, as the complaint goes, too quickly after making a mistake, that means ET is not giving them consistent playing time for them to mature or grow through their errors. He's juggling his rotations in an inconsistent manner.

If young guys in the rotation are given 20 minutes one game, 8 minutes the next, and then zero for three games, that obviously means they're being used inconsistently.

Inconsistent rotations = inconsistent minutes.

Check the game logs for the younger players. You'll see: 20 minutes, 8 minutes, 0 minutes, 4 minutes, 12 minutes, et cetera.

That's because ET's changing his rotations.

And at this point in the discussion, we're going in circles.

Posted by: SteveMG | January 10, 2009 6:51 PM | Report abuse

Okay, so you are obviously using an example that I'm not aware of. Can you specify who exactly got 20, 8, 0, 4, and 12 minutes?

And can you relate that to a more (for lack of a better word) consistent issue? Who exactly is being pulled for mistakes, and how often? And how is it impacting these players' minutes?

I'm not trying to grandstand, I honestly want to know how you and I can watch the same games, read the same boxscores, and form totally different perspectives.

If there is any inconsistency in PT (which I still don't think there is), then its been stated several times that ETap is looking for the winning rotation. Whether or not we agree on trying to win games being the right strategy at this point, that is the strategy.

Posted by: jones-y | January 10, 2009 7:17 PM | Report abuse

And SteveMG, stop shifting your position:

Sorry, nowhere in any of my posts with you have I shifted positions.

Notice the use of the qualifiers and also the use of the words "the complaints."

I didn't say "my complaint" did I? My complaint about player usage, especially the younger ones, is different than the general complaint expressed here.

Which is, again: that the younger players (rookies and younger veterans) are not being consistently used. That their confidence is being shaken by being pulled after making a mistake and that the shifting rotations is not giving them adequate and consistent playing time for them to mature.

You've admitted this by acknowledging that the "rotations" are being changed too often. And, of course, inconsistent rotations will lead to - once again - inconsistent player usage.

Which is the complaint. Not playing time for the younger players; but inconsistent playing time where they aren't given the time to develop and work through their growing pains.

Last one from me because, frankly, this argument has been settled to my satisfaction.

And that's good enough for me.

Posted by: SteveMG | January 10, 2009 7:18 PM | Report abuse

AB: 26, 27, 25, 22, 7
DM: 16, 24, 30, 32, 32
NY: 27, 24, 17, 28, 17
JC: 24, 27, 13, 12, 21
JM: 0, 0, 0, 0, 11
OP: 5, 0, 0, 0, 10
_____________________________
Tot: 98 102 85 94 98

Last 5 games, starting with most recent.

I'm sorry, I'm not seeing any huge variance there, definitely not enough to warrant your assertion of inconsistency. JC, being the new guy, broke into the rotation. That's the only significant change in minutes distribution.

That last game was the Boston game. It was a blowout early, and ETap took minutes from AB and gave them to JM and OP (that's a wash in my book - neither positive nor negative). ET got 14 minutes and played very well that game, and DSong got 20 minutes and also played very well.

Posted by: jones-y | January 10, 2009 7:32 PM | Report abuse

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