Is it finally time for Gilbert Arenas?
From a struggling reserve with a minutes limitation to a starter? It could happen for Gilbert Arenas only four days after it appeared that his return to form was going to be a prolonged endeavor. His jump shot was off target and he was slow to get in proper game shape after missing nearly three weeks of action with a strained tendon his right ankle.
Coach Flip Saunders wanted to bring Arenas along slowly and shot down the possibility of Arenas getting more than 30 minutes a game last Friday because of the risk of him getting hurt again. That evening, Arenas missed 12 of 14 shots in a season-high 31 minutes as the Wizards lost a winnable game against Charlotte, and he seemed further away. Arenas explained afterward that he was only a few games away from finding his rhythm -- and one night later, Arenas was burying three-pointers, waving his hand in front of his face like former backcourt mate DeShawn Stevenson, and scoring a season-high 30 points in a season-high 32 minutes against Chicago.
"That was one of the best feelings I had in a while, to see him out there," Andray Blatche said. "He's starting to get his touch back and his shot back and his confidence, and he's being the old Gil, taking the shots that he needs to take and being aggressive."
Now, Arenas could possibly wind up starting on Tuesday against Toronto, with John Wall likely out with a sprained left foot suffered in that 103-96 loss to the Bulls. Arenas worked with the starters on practice on Monday and he seemed to have a decent chemistry with Kirk Hinrich on Saturday, when they helped the Wizards rally back from an 18-point second-half deficit. Hinrich likely wouldn't have a problem adjusting to playing with Arenas. "Me and Gil get along great," Hinrich said last week. "We've both been in this league long enough, have a mutual respect."
Arenas seemed to thrive with the ball in his hands, initiating the offense, instead of just standing around waiting for passes in the corner to shoot jumpers. He didn't have much success driving to the hoop, but he was finally able to connect on a layup in the fourth quarter. Wall credited Arenas for making a necessary adjustment before the Chicago game -- he stopped wearing himself out with his pre-game workouts. "He's just been pressing too much. Working too hard on his jump shot before games, and staying overnight too much. He took a day off and relaxed."
Arenas caught fire in Chicago, just as he did in his debut in New York, but he has yet to have a good shooting performance at Verizon Center, where Arenas is shooting just 20.6 percent (7 for 34) in three games. The Wizards would need Arenas to break free of his home shooting funk against Toronto if they are unable to have Wall or Blatche, who is nursing a sore left knee and still working himself back into shape after missing three months of action with a broken right foot.
AROUND THE WEB
A shoe free agent, Arenas has been wearing different shoes for nearly every game this season. He's worn the Penny Hardaways, Under Armours, and an assortment of Jordans. Arenas will likely wear several shoes from legendary players, including Allen Iverson, over the course of the year. Nicekicks.com looked at his shoe selections -- Jordans -- from over the weekend.
Hoopism.com takes a look at the ages of NBA rosters and shows that there is little different between the average of 15 players on the Wizards' roster and the players who actually get action each night.
In his Keys to the Palace, Bullets Forever's Jake Whitacre says Wall and Yi Jianlian shone in an uneven week.
Truth About It's Kyle Weidie posted some nice photos from Friday's home game against Charlotte.
| November 16, 2010; 8:05 AM ET
Categories: Morning brew
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