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Why Memphis Makes Sense

Although I still suspect that Gilbert Arenas will play Thursday against Cleveland, it might actually make more sense for him to play against Memphis tomorrow.

First off, he will be facing one of the worst teams in the league instead of the team with the league's best record. He'll also have plenty of scoring opportunities against a shoddier defense that surrenders 99.6 points compared to Cleveland's league-leading 90.9.

I mean, would you rather have two youngsters like Mike Conley and O.J. Mayo guarding you or have to deal with Cleveland's stifling defense, a physical defender like Delonte West, and the possibility of LeBron James sneaking from behind for a blocked shot off the glass?

But the main reason Memphis makes sense is that it will give Arenas two days of rest before the Wizards face Miami on Saturday. If Arenas plays on Thursday, he would only have one day for the bumps and bruises to heal. Considering that the Wizards will be in Cleveland on April 8, it's not like Arenas won't see the Cavaliers again. He would also have three games under his belt rather than one.

Asked about his surgically-repaired left knee this afternoon, Arenas said, "It feels good. No complaints from me."

Arenas is probably looking at a situation where he can play three games spread over eight days (Memphis, Miami and Cleveland), rather than having two games in three days (Cleveland and Miami) and another game four days later (Cleveland). Since Arenas doesn't want to play limited minutes, it might be better for him to go all out and then take extended time off, rather than play short spurts with limited rest.

But you wish the guy would communicate with his coach first.

This is the third time in the past six weeks that Arenas has said one thing, while Ed Tapscott has said another. First, he admitted that he was practicing while Tapscott continued to cover for him. Then, Arenas announced that he would return to action against Detroit on Saturday while Tapscott said the plan had yet to be finalized. And finally, Arenas said that he could play against Memphis only a few minutes after his coach said that he prefers to rest Arenas against the Grizzlies so that he can play in a home game.

Wonder who runs the show? Like the late Christopher "Biggie Smalls" Wallace -- not to be confused with Christopher "Memphis Grizzlies general manager" Wallace -- once said, "If you don't know, now you know, you know."

By Michael Lee  |  March 31, 2009; 5:52 PM ET
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Next: Crittenton Getting Tough Love


Hey Mike just to let u know you are doing a good job with the Wizards coverage,so far hope to have you back next-season

Posted by: brandonjamal13 | March 31, 2009 5:59 PM | Report abuse

As one who is stuck in school in Florida and will not be able to attend. I like this plan. Especially because I have two heat fan brothers.

One who has been harassing me about how bad Wizards stink.
The other who has some empathy considering the Heat's previous season.

At this point I have nothing to lose if the Wizards lose, but some ammo if the Wiz can steal a win.

Posted by: Snots | March 31, 2009 6:46 PM | Report abuse

Mike - you are way better at this than Ivan was. I hope you stick around too.

Posted by: PVGtownAz | March 31, 2009 6:47 PM | Report abuse





Posted by: Darnell1 | March 31, 2009 8:03 PM | Report abuse

Mike this is awesome, thank you

Posted by: emmet1 | March 31, 2009 8:23 PM | Report abuse

in my opinion the wizards need help in couple of areas one is help as power forward and if they get the lottery they will be able to solve that spot two help at shooting guard and three get a coach who is completly overhaul this defense and make them a contender and what Grunfend needs to do is go to schools that plays some serious defense such as memphis kentucky kansas and so on he needs to draft players from there and at that point here is something else grunfeld needs to do after he gets griffin trade Jamison for valuable role players so they can contribute at backup shooting guard this is by no means a threat to Nick young because of the fact that he's big enough to play small forward and back up Butler and from what i seen so far the Wizards don't need back up point guard since they have Crittenden trade stevenson besides i think the Wizards are regretting not extending mason while giving steveosnon the money now that's not paying off.

Posted by: rmnkevorkian | March 31, 2009 8:47 PM | Report abuse

Hey, with Arenas back, ask Taps if Young, McGee and Blatche still seem so knuckleheaded that they didn't deserve minutes this year.

How shortsighted Taps has been - and how damaging to the Wiz' chances next year, given the lack of improvement in McGee, Blatche and Young this year.

Posted by: Izman | March 31, 2009 9:04 PM | Report abuse

I seem to remember Biggie Smalls also once said,
"... the streets is a short stop
Either you're slinging crack rock
or you got a wicked jump shot."

Posted by: pjkiger1 | March 31, 2009 9:52 PM | Report abuse

Gilbert wait for Cleveland, I don't get the CW50 channel, so I can't watch Memphis game!!! I hate that channel, wish they were all on CSN.

Posted by: djnumb | March 31, 2009 10:08 PM | Report abuse

When does Ivan take over on WaPo Live? And where the heck is Russ Thaler going? Everyone is being very mysterious about it.

Posted by: Lisa_R | March 31, 2009 11:59 PM | Report abuse

Overall I don't think Tapscott has done a bad job this year. Not the way I'd have managed the minutes, but then, I'm not the coach, am I?

My choice would have been to play Jamison and Butler less (maybe 35 a game, averaged over the season) and players like Blatche, Young, McGee and Crittenton (the latecomer) more. Sure, it would have been ugly out there at times, but as it turned out, it was pretty ugly anyway.

Would the young guys have developed more? Crittenton probably would have, but he's the farthest advanced of that group anyway. McGee I think needs an offseason more than more time on the court getting pushed around by bigger, stronger NBA types. That damages some big men, I think. I'm more willing to take it slow with a center.

As to whether more time and effort should be invested in Blatche and Young -- both are talented and yet somehow flawed players. Maybe there's a market out there for one or both. I wonder if seeing more of them in games would have improved the market, or reduced it.

McGuire's fine. Leave him alone.

Tapscott will be gone next season. Back in player development, perhaps. Whatever we thought of this season, it was Ernie Grunfeld's. He made the calls, he'll have to live with the outcome.

Posted by: Samson151 | April 1, 2009 7:26 AM | Report abuse

Interesting that the Nets' Brook Lopez is averaging a very respectable 1.8 blocks a game. Not bad for a guy who can't jump. There's a lesson there for shotblockers everywhere -- if you're big enough, sometimes it's better to get position and hold it.

Posted by: Samson151 | April 1, 2009 7:29 AM | Report abuse

No, Memphis does not make sense. If Wizards is willing to sacrifice their standing (uh, I mean ping-pong balls) and seek the excitement of a win, then Cleveland certainly makes more sense.

How exciting can you be by wining against Memphis? It serves no purpose (excitement) and does harms in standing! Sure, Cleveland will be a challenge, but that's where the excitement lies. It will be a win-win situation, we either win the game, or we didn't loose on the standing! At this point, fans want to see a competitive game against a good team more than just a W on the record!

BTW, has Haywood had 5 practices yet? Tap said he needs 5-10 practices. However, not many games left, wonder when will he suit up? Saturday?

Posted by: sagaliba | April 1, 2009 10:01 AM | Report abuse

Mike, keep up the good work and hope you're back next year.

As much as I'd like to see Agent Zero play against Cleveland, I think he knows that he'll need some games under his belt before playing tough, defensive-minded teams. Memphis would make sense since he'll be able to get in the flow on offense and regain his timing/confidence. I also think he'd like 2 days off before playing against Miami on Saturday.

Posted by: wizfan89 | April 1, 2009 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Wouldn't Cleveland-Miami-Cleveland technically be three games over 11 days?

Just saying.

Posted by: truthaboutit | April 1, 2009 11:27 AM | Report abuse

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