Gilbert Arenas….

"For the Good Times...."

I know it had to be done….I know that after the Gun Incident that this day was coming.  It happened, I understand WHY…doesnt mean I am happy with it.  I guess for the future for the franchise its a good thing woo woo woo but f*ck that! Right now, TODAY, the best basketball player that has ever  laced it up for the Bullets/Wizards franchise  in over 30 years is finally an Ex-Wizard.  The move makes me feel bad in my stomach, because the outsiders only see what’s good for the basketball team (and honestly, that’s the #1 goal) BUT being a Lifetime Washingtonian, and more importantly a lifetime INNER CITY Washingtonian, this cuts deep, man.

Being a lifelong fan of Washington sports teams, its like a bad relationship.  You stay around, through all of the good (very little) and all of the bad (LOTS of it) for awesome fan moments…and for my sake, NO one player brought as many awesome fan moments for any of our franchises than Gilbert Arenas did before the unfortunate circumstances of injuries and stupidity (the gun charge) but I’m not going to dwell on that.  I’m only going to dwell on the good times and there were plenty.

As we watch tonight’s game (I’m typing this as I watch the pregame show) your going to see more than half of the Verizon Center cheer for the opposing Miami Heat. Do I blame them? ABSOLUTELY NOT because this franchise has not given the fans a reason to cheer. At one point Gilbert DID THAT for us. Sold out crowds and genuine excitement throughout the city…there was actually a point where you could HONESTLY put Gilbert and his stats/clutch play alongside with the Kobe’s, DWade’s and LeBron’s of the world and it wasn’t looked down upon as just being fans. Gilbert SINGLEHANDEDLY resurrected “Clippers East” into Must-See-TV. The term DAGGER by Steve Buckhantz was made popular BECAUSE of Gil!

Back to the Inner City Fan aspect for a moment, I am a PROUD product of SE Washington DC. Being that I tend to see things a little differently than most fans/media etc…a different POV.  Ive sat on the sidelines of Barry Farms basketball courts of the Goodman League every summer and have seen the best of the best ball in “The Gates” and there was no one player that drew as much excitement/cheers than Mr Arenas.  Ive seen that man come down “The Gates” alone, while there are people from this town scared to step FOOT in, he would come down, sign EVERY autograph, pose for EVERY picture, give out hundreds of free tennis shoes/jerseys/toys for the underprivileged youth without fanfare.  The only time you saw major media down there was to see him AFTER he was injured.  The same man also took in a young man into his home as an adopted son when the boy lost his whole family in a fire.  A man who gave his money to schools throughout the area with his “Gilbert Scores for Schools” initiative plus COUNTLESS of other ventures that go unreported….and its all gone to the waste side because all people want to remember is the gun incident, and that is so sad to me. He did so much MORE and SHOULD be acknowledged for such.

Personally and selfishly, I wanted him to stay a Wizard and a WASHINGTONIAN because I wanted him to redeem himself ala Michael Vick.  He deserves his 2nd chance, he’s going to get it now in Orlando with a chance to REALLY compete for the NBA Title so I’m happy for that. He was once the most beloved sports figure here since Joe Gibbs….in hindsight, the Redskins WISH they had an athlete that could connect with the fans the way Gilbert did with us, that’s probably why there is a slight discord with the Team in Ashburn.  For all the faults, people always LIKED Gil and somehow could see through all of it and see a genuinely nice guy…I’ll miss you Gil and I’m not the only one who will either!

AGENT ZERO FOREVER!!!!!

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Thanksgiving Eve….

As I sit here developing a newfound hatred for my boy Steve Blake as he hits dagger 3’s for the Lake Show, I just watched 2 pretty good basketball games featuring My Wizards and My Kentucky Wildcats.

 

First, my Wizards pulled out a tough, comeback victory vs the Philly Sixers.  At one point they were down by 17, and as you all know, this Wizards team just isnt equipped to make these type of comebacks on a regular basis.  BUT for some reason, this team, for all of its obvious flaws, shows resiliency when they bring maximum effort. Javale McGee has played with renewed fervor the past week or so, had 24 pts and a career high 16 rebounds. He now leads the league in blocks…imagine when he learns not to jump for every pump fake…sky’s the limit.  John Wall returned from his 1st NBA injury and had 20 pts off the bench and hit 3 crucial free throws with 3 seconds remaining to send the game into OT.  Big 3 pt shots in OT from Gilbert Arenas and the actual game winner from Nick Young gave the fans at Verizon Center a reason to go home with a smile on their faces.

 

Secondly, this was my 1st opportunity to watch my Kentucky Wildcats play a legit Final Four contender early in the season in the Washington Huskies.  Highly touted freshman Terrance Jones had verbally committed to Washington but Coach Calipari used his “mojo” and got Jones to commit to the more awesome school.  This game was apart of the Maui classic but it was played with the intensity of a NCAA Tournament game.  He already has a pro body, he’s the prototypical Small Forward that NBA scouts will drool over next June.  He played a solid game but the star of the game was 2010’s #1 rated Point Guard prospect (also a Wildcat) Brandon Knight who was scintillating and sensational throughout (word to Dick Vitale even though Bill Raftery called the game on ESPN LOL).  My Cats are stacked again with 1 and Done freshman, hopefully this year we can hit some jumpshots and free throws when it really matters in March!

2010-11 NBA Preview – The Eastern Conference

I will start this preview by stating the Miami Heat will not win the NBA title THIS season.  It takes time.  With that being said, its plenty of other stories in the NBA this season that are worth the price of admission (or price of the NBA Season Pass).  Lots of players changing cities, impact rookies (plus 2009 #1 Overall selection Blake Griffin) and even some rule changes will bring a new flavor that I believe the league has needed.

 

Lets start 1st with the Eastern Conference.

Boston obviously should win the Atlantic Division with ease, but they showed last season, they dont really care about having the most wins in the NBA, but just being prepared for April/May and they are fine.  If Doc Rivers is the coach I think he is (which is MUCH better than Mike Brown was in Cleveland), he will find the PROPER way to use Shaquille O’Neal, which is limited minutes and increased minutes when playing the big dogs.  I believe each team in the Atlantic Division should improve, not by much (unless NY ends up with Carmelo Anthony THIS season instead of next season…shout out to LaLa if you catch my drift).  The Sixers have a new (old) coach in Doug Collins and still have a weird mix of “talent” so I expect them to be major players at the trade deadline.  You dont draft Evan Turner 2nd overall to have him be a backup to Andre Igoudola.  The Nets made one of the best offseason moves ever, they moved out of that awful Meadowlands/Izod Center and moved to Newark to the Prudential Center which will make the experience of watching them better for the fans in attendance.  Brook Lopez is a Top 10 center in the league, I absolutely love what 2nd year forward Terrance Williams gives you in his all around game and look for a healthy Devin Harris to be a factor this season.  The Knicks signed Amare Stoudamire and have a bunch of solid role players, will Raymond Felton be the answer at point guard? We shall see.

 

In the Central Divsion, I guess Chicago is the frontrunner but thats basically by default. This team is lead by budding superstar Derrick Rose and made a couple of shrewd moves this offseason highlighted by scooping Carlos Boozer from Utah.  The only serious challenger to the crown would be the Milwaukee Bucks.  Andrew Bogut is back and Brandon Jennings is in year 2 of his development.  The key to the team to me is John Salmons and can he continue his solid play on both sides of the ball.  Cleveland….well, we know what happened there so we wont speak on it….and Detroit…..Joe Dumars should be fired for spending all of that free cap space 2 seasons ago on Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva.  Indiana just may be that team to move up the ranks.  Picking up Darren Collison to lock down that point guard spot was HUGE and the continued development of Roy Hibbert, Tyler Hansborough and 1st rd pick Paul George will give Pacer fans a reason to be optimistic about the immediate future.

 

In the tough Southeast division, you have 2 heavyweight franchises, 2 other playoff teams and my Wizards.  In Orlando, they know what they are, they are just hoping that whatever they think they are, is good enough for a return trip to the NBA Finals,  I still believe they need more dynamic play from the 2 guard position (paging Vince Carter) to ultimately win the Finals but there isnt any reason why they couldn’t get there.  Miami is one season/stud post player away IMO but as the old saying goes “Rome wasnt built in a day” but please believe they ARE trying to build Rome or a facsimile LOL.  Being able to bring in LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Mike Miller in one offseason has to be the greatest coup in NBA History.  You now have 2 of the best 3 players together in Bron and DWade, and 3 of the top 15 when you add Bosh (Im not as high on Bosh as most people but he’s the best 3rd option in basketball hands down).  One thing that team sports constantly show us that it takes time to gel and Miami isnt any different.  They will win 60 games but honestly who cares?  This team is only gonna be judged by postseason success as it should so I really dont care what they do during the season, what I want to see is in the 2nd rd of the playoffs…when the series is tied 2-2, and Miami is down by 1 with 15 seconds left with the ball….who facilitates the offense and who takes that gamewinning shot?    The Bobcats are a pretty solid team but they will venture into that “Middle of the Road” playoff team area which is basically a no-man’s land of opportunity sad to say.  Atlanta is in that same boat because they have mortgaged their future into Joe Johnson, who was an absolute no-show in the playoffs last year.  If that guy is the Go-to Guy on your team, you have no shot….sorry.

 

Lastly, my Washington Wizards……where should I start…..well last season, anything that could have gone wrong, did and THEN some so I wont go back and relive that awfulness.  What I will  state is that because of that awfulness, we lucked up and won the draft lottery in a year where there is a TRUE franchise changer, and that franchise changer goes by the name of John Wall.  The Front Office has basically moved on from the Gilbert Arenas business and went all in into The John Wall Brand and rightly so.  He is the prototype Point Guard of the Future in the NBA today. He is ultra quick, ultra athletic, very long (pause) and has the ability to become a lock down defender once he learns the NBA game….picture Rajon Rondo’s body type with Derrick Rose’s ability together.  With that being said, I actually like some of the moves Ernie Grundfeld made this offseason.  I love the Hinrich pickup (although I wanted Rudy Fernandez), I love the drafting of Trevor Booker because this team is not tryin to make one deep run like last season’s moves showed, this team needed a new focus and that new focus is being young, dynamic and TOUGH, which Booker will eventually bring.  Our post play is going to leave something to be desired but in the end, we are going to see where the hearts of Javale McGee and Andray Blatche are because they are going to see the bulk of the playing time so its on them to improve daily and act like they want to be a player in the league.  I see us winning about 30 or so games which would put us back in the lottery and hopefully we can strike lottery gold 2 years in a row…its happened before, why not us?

Wizards strike gold…win Draft Lottery…What next?

John Wall??? Evan Turner??? Trade Down??? Package pick for multiple players/picks?

What a quandary the Wizards are in….a GOOD one for a change. Doesn’t it feel good to truly have options Wizards fans? LOL

Now, if you didn’t know, I am an unabashed Kentucky Wildcats fan (sue me LOL). Now being as such, I am a huge proponent of drafting the player that has been pegged as the #1 overall selection in this draft for 2 years, that my friends, is John Wall. If you could have seen me in my bedroom as I watched the Lottery on TV….this is the only way I can describe how I felt at that moment http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yIutgtzwhAc (0:18 second mark). Now after calming down and coming down off my Cloud 99, I have now looked at this situation thoughtfully….YOU STILL DRAFT JOHN WALL!!!!!

I mean honestly, to me, its a no-brainer. 1st and foremost, I love Evan Turner, I really really do. I believe he will be a multiple time All Star but right now, this Wizards franchise needs a new “face” for lack of a better term. The last season was THE worst ever for this franchise, our best player locked up for pistol play IN the locker room, Caron “The Snitch” Butler traded along with Brendan Haywood and Antwan “The Consumate Professional although I dont play any defense” Jamison also being traded to Cleveland. As much as this city loves a reclamation project (ie Marion Barry), I just dont believe Gilbert Arenas can be “the face” of this franchise even if he’s still apart of it being virtually untradeable because of his contract.

If you’ve never watched a college basketball game, one thing that you notice when watching John Wall play, he’s a star point blank. You know when you see it…stars kinda exude confidence thru the screen somehow…they have “it”….and John Wall has “it”. He has all the physical tools you want your future point guard to have. He’s ultra quick with the ball, long armed, great athlete…reminds me of a more athletic Rajon Rondo, and he’s not really a pure point guard ala Steve Nash….and is automatically the best defender at the point guard position even if Gil remains and he’s a work in progress there.

Obviously being only 19 years old, he’s a work in progress but isn’t everybody? He’s a below average outside shooter but you can always improve there if you work hard in your craft and he’s a gym rat so I have no qualms that he wouldnt become at least a serviceable jumpshooter. Again, look how great Rondo is right now and he’s still a below average shooter, its more qualities in being a great point guard than shooting. Lastly, I believe he is a leader of men. As much as I love Gil, he just isnt a true leader. He’s stated it before in the media, turned down captaincy…so why force him to be that person. Wall on the other hand, seems to relish the fact of being THE Man…THE Leader…OUR Leader….Ladies and Gentlemen, your future #1 Draft Pick, from the University of Kentucky….John Wall.

The Death of Abe Pollin and the State of the Wizards

The Washington Area lost one of the pillars of the community last week with the death of Washington Wizards Owner Abe Pollin of a degenerative brain condition. He is survived by his wife Irene and celebrated by not just fans of the Wizards/Bullets franchise, but fans of the Washington Capitals, who he founded in 1974 then sold to AOL Executive Ted Leonsis, but also all of the good people of this Metro Area that were genuinely touched either by his philanthropic efforts, or even had a chance to work for/with him. From all Ive heard from numerous people, he was a great man with an even greater heart and he will be sorely missed.

Searching for Answers Perhaps....

Now, his beloved Wizards have started the season very poorly which isnt out of the norm, what IS out of the norm is the below average play from 2 of its Big 3. Caron Butler and Gilbert Arenas NEED to be playing at optimal level for this team to succeed and right now, that is not occurring. Gil has been out for 2 years with that knee so to expect him to be “Gil of 2006” isnt fair, but being paid the way he is, he will take a brunt of the criticism. He must cut down his turnover and once his legs/handle returns to normal, I really dont have to worry about what he can contribute on that court. Caron on the other hand seems to look lost. Where is the Tough Juice that we all came to love? Remember how hard he used to attack the basket? It seems like since he’s developed a jumpshot, his one-on-one game has severely slipped with lots of turnovers and charge calls. If we can EVER get THAT Tough Juice back, we should be fine. The NBA did not give the Wizards any favors in scheduling and having so many injuries early on didnt help. Once Mike Miller returns in a couple of weeks, by the All Star break, this team could be the type of team that can make a solid 7-8 game run and get right back into the race for a middle playoff seed.

Washington Wizards Season Preview

As every season it seems as a Washington Wizards fan, we are all hoping for one thing…HEALTH. This season (and lots of jobs) are on the line because of health. Gilbert Arenas, for my eyes, looks completely healthy after 2 basically lost seasons due to 3 knee surgeries, will be the focus of the fanbase, media, the world actually. Will he/can he come back to the form of 2007 where he played himself into one of the TRUE superstars in the NBA? Only time will tell, but most importantly, lets not all get in a fuss if he isnt shooting daggers from all over the place. Lets let the man play a full season 1st and then judge from there. He is way too talented for his game not to be the determining factor for wins for this team whether if its scoring 35 points at will, or being a 15 pt/10 assist type point guard.

Going into the season unfortunately, injuries have hit the team from an unexpected source. Antwan Jamison is out for atleast a month with a dislocated shoulder which could quite possibly effect him throughout the season. With Jamison out, 2 of our young bigs MUST step up immediately. 5th Year Forward Andray Blatche and 2nd year prospect Javell McGee can use this time to develop into the players the Wizards need eventually to contend seriously with the Power Brokers in the East. Caron Butler and the undervalued return of C Brendand Haywood gives this team the nucleus to atleast get IN the playoffs.

The 2 players that I believe that can make this team a pretty dangerous team are Mike Miller and Randy Foye, who came to the team from Minnesota in a trade for the 5th Overall Pick, Etan Thomas, Darious Songaila and O. Pecherov. Both players can put the ball in the hoop and have a knack for scoring. Miller is the best pure 3pt shooter since the days of Tim Legler/Tracy Murray, and Randy Foye I could see invisioning as a deadly 6th man-esque player.

If everything works to our favor, this team will contend for the 4th spot in the playoffs, I have them @ #5 but I wouldnt be surprised if we get that #4 spot.

USA blows the money vs Brazil in Confederations Cup Final

I havent blogged in months and I do apologize, I will be updating this blog MUCH more frequently from now on!!

So I finally decide to watch a soccer game that wasnt in the World Cup (even my girl said WTF are you watching??), the Confederation Cup Final pitting the good ole USA vs juggernaut Brazil. Now Im not hardly a soccer expert but if its a championship game, I can get into it, so early on, the US jump out to a 2-0 lead playing GREAT soccer and go into halftime with a 2-0 lead. Im thinking now “They are going to just hunker down and play great defense and actually WIN this thing”, boy was I wrong. Brazil just played SO well in the 2nd half, it was like Men amongst Boys. Our goalie Tim Howard could only do so much, it SHOULD have been at least 5-2….Im pissed off because I wasted 2 hours of a Sunday Afternoon watching this. Thats cool tho, because Gilbert Arenas should be making a guest apperance down Barry Farms @ the Goodman League tonite so that should be pretty damn cool.