The Unofficial Gilbert Arenas Preview For 2008-09

Posted by on October 25th, 2008 in Commentary

If you keep up with other Wizards blogs, you know that today is the day that Wizards bloggers have submitted their previews for the upcoming season for CelticsBlog.  If you haven’t been, I’d highly recommend checking out Bullets Forever, Truth About It, Hoops Addict, and Hoops Avenue for their previews.  I chose not to sign up because this isn’t really a team blog since it only covers Gilbert Arenas, but I still wanted to give you the readers some kind of a preview for what we can expect from Gilbert in the upcoming season.

Player Name: Gilbert Arenas
Last Years Record: 6-7
Key Losses: 62 games due to injury
Key Additions: A one million dollar pool

1. What significant moves were made during the offseason?

Obviously, the biggest move of the off-season was re-signing with the Wizards for $111 million over six years, which should keep him in the District for just about the rest of his playing career.  Many have raised doubts over whether or not it was the best move on the part of the Wizards to sign a player who has had injury issues over the last few years to such a large contract, but Gilbert’s career has always been about proving the doubters wrong, expect more of the same this season.

That is, once he gets back to form.  The other major move made during the off-season was the move back to rehab room after undergoing surgery last month which will keep him out for the start of the season.  Recently, he said that he thinks he can be back by late-November, but December/January looks like a more realistic date for his return.

Oh, and he also got engaged.  I guess that counts as a move.

2. What are Gilbert’s biggest strengths?

Ask people all around the league and they’ll tell you that Gilbert is one of the most explosive players in the league.  His devastating first step allows him to beat his defenders and get easy buckets and trips to the free throw line.  All those easy buckets and free throws pile up and have helped him become one of the best scorers in the league, finishing in the top 10 in points per game 3 times in his career.

In addition, Gilbert has also developed into one of the deadliest shooters from the beyond the arc, forcing defenders to respect his perimeter ability as well as his ability to get to the rim making him a matchup nightmare for defenders.  He usually uses those drives to the rim early in the game, but when it gets down to the nitty-gritty, his ability to bury clutch outside shots have made him into a star in the NBA.

An underappreciated aspect of Gilbert’s game is his rebounding ability.  Many people focus on his points and assists, but rarely do people bring up that he’s averaged 4.2 rebounds per game over his career.  That’s an exceptionally high number of boards for a point guard.

3. What is Gilbert’s biggest weakness?

Gilbert’s greatest flaw is his defense.  Some people will look at his 1.8 steals per game average and assume that he’s doing a good job, but most those come from jumping passing lanes rather than tough, on the ball defense.  He took some steps last year towards getting better on defensive side of the ball, but he still has to improve some more if he wants to help the Wizards become an elite defensive team.

4. What are the goals for Gilbert this season?

The big thing Gilbert has to do this season is prove that he can get healthy.  It’s been almost 17 months since he was first injured and in that time he’s had three different surgeries to help get his knee back to normal and so far, nothing has worked out.  At times, there have been flashes, but he’s yet to return to the form that we’ve come to know and love from before the time he was injured.  He has to make sure that he doesn’t try to rush back this season before he’s ready and risk further injury.  The last thing any of us need is yet another setback in his recovery.

If he can do that successfully, the next goal for Gilbert is to try and get the Wizards into the playoffs.  The Wizards will probably face some struggles early oAren without himself and Brendan Haywood, so once he comes back, he’ll have to help get the Wizards back into the playoff picture in an Eastern Conference which looks stronger than it has in previous seasons.  He probably won’t be able to play at the same level that he did before he was injured right off the bat, but even an 85% effective Gilbert Arenas can go a long way in getting the Wizards in the playoff hunt and possibly back into the second round for the first time since 2005.

5. Is that “Saved by Zero” commercial by Toyota hurting Gilbert’s reputation?

Absolutely!  Judging by the outrage, I’d say that people are mighty fed up with this annoying 30 second bit.  The more Toyota plays it, the more people are going to not only get mad at the commercial, but at being saved and more importantly, at anything involving zero, including Agent Zero.  So please Toyota, for the love of all that’s good and decent please yank this ad before everyone subconsciously starts to hate Gilbert Arenas for no good reason.

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