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Friday, December 14, 2007

Is Gilbert Arenas the Most Overrated All-Star in the NBA?

Gilbert Arenas is an All-Star, he has a popular blog and he is a fun-loving player who is a fan favorite. He is also the most overrated All-Star in the NBA. Note carefully how that sentence was phrased; I'm not saying that he is a bad player or even that he does not have All-Star level talent--but last season this guy was pumped up by the adoring media (including NBA.com, USA Today and the Washington Post, among others) as a top MVP candidate. The Wizards had the best record in the East for about a minute and a half while Detroit, Cleveland, Chicago and Toronto worked through various issues but most people seem to forget that the Wizards had already fallen to 39-34 before Arenas and Caron Butler suffered season-ending injuries. As strange as it may sound, the best thing that happened to maintain Arenas' reputation is that he got hurt and did not play in last year's playoffs, because for some reason a lot of people assume that the Wizards would have beaten the Cavaliers if Arenas had played--even though the Cavs eliminated the Wizards in the first round the previous year and even though the Cavs had clearly improved since then, as they demonstrated by beating Detroit four straight times in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Arenas got hurt again this season but Butler did not--and what has happened since Arenas was sidelined would be damaging to Arenas' reputation as an MVP-level player if members of the media simply reported what their own eyes should clearly be able to see. The Wizards started out 3-5 this year before Arenas injured his knee and they have gone 9-5 since he has been out, including a 104-91 victory over Miami on Thursday night. Butler, who had 19 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and four steals in that game, is averaging 22.6 ppg, 7.0 rpg and 2.6 apg while posting career-highs in field goal percentage (.512), three point field goal percentage (.451) and free throw percentage (.874). Antawn Jamison, who had 16 points and 16 rebounds against Miami, is averaging 21.1 ppg and 10.7 rpg, better than he has done in either category since becoming a Wizard. Great players are supposed to not only produce numbers for themselves but also make it easier for their teammates to get open shots--and that applies even more so to a supposedly elite point guard like Arenas who has the ball in his hands all the time. If Cleveland's recent struggles in LeBron James' absence prove his value--and they do to a certain extent, even though other Larry Hughes and Anderson Varejao were also out of the lineup at the same time--then doesn't the Wizards' success without Arenas at least suggest that maybe he is not quite as valuable as so many people think?

Here are two mitigating factors that Arenas-lovers might bring up: (1) Arenas was not completely healthy early in the season, so the 3-5 record does not reflect how the team would have done with him at full strength; (2) the Wizards may not be able to sustain their current level of play. I don't buy the first point because, as I noted, the Wizards were 39-34 last season before Arenas and Butler suffered their season-ending injuries and they were 42-40 the year before that with all three guys being healthy. The fact is that the Wizards have been mediocre for quite some time despite flanking Arenas with two legitimate All-Star level players. As for whether or not the Wizards can sustain their current pace, obviously no one can answer that for sure--but, watching them play, it does not look like a fluke that they are playing well.

During the Washington-Miami game, TNT's Reggie Miller said this about Arenas' replacement, Antonio Daniels: "I think he balances them out...When you had the three-headed monster you never knew where the shots were going to come from. Daniels gives them that balance. He understands that he is going to get the other guys involved and take his opportunities when they come to him." Later, play by play man Kevin Harlan observed that the Wizards seem to be more patient on offense without Arenas. "Very true," answered Miller.

It is obvious that the Wizards are not just treading water without Arenas but that they are playing much better without him--but that does not fit into the conventional wisdom narrative, so alternative explanations have to be sought: "When Gilbert Arenas is there, they are definitely a better team," Charles Barkley said during TNT's postgame show. Then he made a correct observation that completely contradicted his first statement: "They have much better movement of the ball (without Arenas). You saw Caron Butler say that. They have some good players on that team." Let's get this straight: the team has better ball movement without Arenas and is winning much more without him--but the Wizards are "definitely" better with him? That makes no sense.

Kenny Smith offered this defense of Arenas' value: "I don't think that we should be misguided to think that they're a better team without him. He is a guy who is a finisher, so in big games against great teams he is the one guy who can get his shot and make a play when no one else can. If you play a San Antonio, you might steal a game because he is a guy who in the fourth quarter can make two or three baskets. He brings that electricity, he brings that finishing element, to a team that is pretty good." It is true that Arenas has hit some big shots during his career but the overall numbers show that he shoots a lousy percentage and his team--which we now know has a lot of talented players--has had a mediocre record with him for quite some time. How do we know that Butler could not be a "finisher" in "big games"? Anyway, the Wizards are always around .500 with Arenas, so how many "big games" do they figure to play in during his career?

Barkley countered Smith by saying, "What he has to learn is--I always told myself that I was going to get every shot in the fourth quarter because I'm going to be a finisher--that's why he has to get Caron, Antawn, (DeShawn) Stevenson involved in the first couple quarters. Those guys can play...Great players, their job is to get other guys shots...I agree that they are not better without him but he's got to be a finisher but when your point guard takes a lot of shots the other guys are like--"and Barkley slumped his shoulders to pantomime their frustration. Smith responded that Arenas is really a shooting guard and Barkley agreed but noted correctly that Washington has been using him as a point guard.

The most accurate statement that has been made about the Wizards is a quote from Butler that appeared in Thursday's USA Today: "You look across the board, everybody playing has gotten better since Gilbert went down." I'm sure that Butler did not mean to take a shot at Arenas but rather to praise how much his teammates have stepped up but think about the literal meaning of what he said: everybody is playing better without Arenas--how could that possibly happen if Arenas is in fact the MVP not just of his team but the entire league? Would everybody on the Suns play better if Steve Nash were out for a month? What about the Spurs and Tim Duncan?

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posted by David Friedman @ 6:27 AM



At Friday, December 14, 2007 10:53:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good work David. I agree completely! My post today on Passion and Pride is titled, "Arenas is a better blogger than baller..."

At Friday, December 14, 2007 7:48:00 PM, Blogger Unsilent Majority said...

It sure is easy to write something like this when a superstar gets hurt and his team plays solid basketball. But let's see where the Wizards are at the halfway point. Will they be hovering at or above .500 or will they be leading the Eastern Conference like they were the last time the team was healthy.

Yeah, the Wizards look strong but it's not as if a guy like Roger Mason Jr. turned into a reliable shooter because Gil got hurt, it happened because he spent hours upon hours on his game over the summer. Similar story with Caron Butler who's 3 point shooting went from non-existent to outstanding since the year began. And it's not as if he's getting more, or even better, looks as a result of Gil's absence, he's worked for it. The team is playing beautifully together right now, and I'm quite confident that Gilbert will transition back onto the active roster. And I'm positive that it will be for the better.

I also find it odd that David, along with several other writers and commentators, have come to this conclusion on the heels of Washington's nationally televised game. If you don't tune in for the losses then every team is going to look improved.

I love the way the team is playing, but they are not going to be 9 or 10 games over .500 without Gilbert as they were with him a season ago. It's been what, 14 games?

At Saturday, December 15, 2007 4:31:00 AM, Blogger David Friedman said...

Unsilent Majority:

No one can say for sure how well or how poorly the Wizards will play the rest of the season; I'll analyze those games after they are played.

Right now, the Wizards are a team that started out poorly, lost an alleged MVP candidate to injury and suddenly started playing much better. Did all of the practicing that Butler, Mason and the others did not kick in until Arenas went down?

Everyone who loves Arenas is searching long and hard to find reasons to explain how well the team is doing without him when the answer is obvious: Arenas is not as valuable as everyone thought and therefore he is easier to replace.

If you don't think that a month's worth of games (9-5 without Arenas) are valid, then why do you arbitrarily cite the point in time last season when the Wizards were nine games above .500? When Arenas and Butler went down for good, the Wizards were 39-34, a larger and more representative sample of games against a wider range of competition. The Wizards have never been much more than a .500 team with Arenas even though he has two All-Star level teammates, a good coach and a decent supporting cast. That is why I think that it is striking that they were mediocre with him for almost an entire season and now they are 9-5 without him for a month.

I did not suddenly come to this conclusion; go back and look through this site and you will find that I have written about Arenas and the Wizards for quite some time. I covered their 2006 and 2007 playoff series with Cleveland. I've "tuned in" more than enough to understand what is going on with this team; the people who were touting Arenas for MVP last year need to watch some more games--both of Arenas and of the actual, legit MVP level players in the NBA.

Even if the Wizards fall back a bit, what does it say about Arenas' value if they can even come close to last year's record without him? History shows that MVP level players are generally worth 15-20 wins over the course of a season, particularly to a non-championship level team (rookies Larry Bird and David Robinson are two examples); an MVP level player does not generally add 15-20 wins to a 50 win squad simply because there is an obvious point of diminishing returns (Magic's rookie year is an example of this).

Moreover, forget wins and losses for a moment. The Wizards are actually playing like a team now. There is ball movement, hustle and they even play some defense; it is no longer the Gilbert Arenas show and the game is not about creating fodder for his next blog post. Arenas' antics fired up his opponents and did not do anything positive for him or his teammates. You may say that I can't prove that but you also cannot disprove it and, as Terrell Owens might say, the proof is in the pudding: 9-5 without an alleged MVP candidate.

At Saturday, December 15, 2007 1:32:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Some real issues here with the way you address the value of Arenas. Before I begin, I live in the Washington, D.C. area, but am a Knicks fan from New York and have no real love or hate for the Wizards, except when they play the Knicks.

First off, Arenas needs to be judged through the same paradigm every point guard is seen through: Does he make his teammates better? The point guard is essentially the quarterback of an NBA team; but, just like a football team, if a point guard's top wide receivers and running back are out, they'll struggle to produce at a high level.

Using this idea, let's look at your analysis of the Wizards. You cite the Wizards' record after game 73, when they lost Gilbert and their record stood at 39-34. By stating the question as 'Is Gilbert Arenas the Most Overrated All-Star in the NBA?' and by emphasizing the play of both Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison, you buy into the idea that these players are at least as vital as Arenas, if not more so, to the success of the team.

Here's where you set your trap. You use as evidence the Wizards record through the first eight games of this season (the definition of small-sample size) as proof that the Wiz are not as good with Arenas as they are without him, using their 9-5 record after he went down as proof.

Let's go back to the quarterback analogy while keeping in mind your assertions about Butler and Jamison. My argument here is that, in order to succeed, the Wizards need all three performing at a high level, with Arenas using his talent at point guard to spread the ball and keep everyone engaged offensively.

Last season, after the Wizards' 44th game, their record stood at 27-17 and they were able to put up points against anybody in the NBA. In the 44th game of the season, Jamison went down with an injury and the Big Three of Arenas, Jamison and Butler started only 10 more games together the rest of the way, after starting all of the first 44 together. From that point on, the Wizards went 14-24, falling to a .500 record on the year.

This is important to note because, again, a point guard's biggest value comes from how well they distribute the ball and set up an offense. It's facetious to cite Butler and Jamison's stats without Arenas in the lineup. Of course they're going to score more — they're getting more looks because one of the premier offensive talents in the NBA (No. 8 in Win Shares last season with 33) is out with an injury.

Second, judging from your bio and writing credits, you obviously know the game quite well and probably watch a good amount of basketball. Why then, knowing what you do about the game, would you cite announcer commentary after a single game as solid evidence to back up your main point? Announcers get things wrong all the time, especially former players, who tend tow wear their biases on their sleeves.

All in all, I think you need to reevaluate your central premise, or at least find other evidence to support it, because you really haven't proved anything in this analysis.xxlmasnu

At Sunday, December 16, 2007 6:59:00 AM, Blogger David Friedman said...


One interesting thing that I have learned in the wake of making this post is that everybody disagrees firmly with citing a small sample size--and then they promptly cite a small sample size of games that "proves" their point.

The bottom line is this: Arenas has been a Wizard for several years and the team has been mediocre (barely above .500). Now, he goes down with an injury and the team is playing better. It might not last but it is at least suggestive of something; to me it suggests that I have been right all along in saying that Arenas' reputation exceeds his production.

I did not cite just one quote, but I cited several pertinent comments made by Barkley, Miller and Smith. It is important to consider the totality of what I presented in the post and not just try to isolate one or two elements. Maybe if all I cited were one or two quotes then you'd have a valid point but I presented a lot of information in the post.

At Sunday, December 16, 2007 7:23:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


You presented a series of quotes after a single game, from a single set of announcers in reference to what they had seen that night. While you present several quotes from each, this isn't representative of a larger point. Try gathering quotes from more than just one announcing crew, after more than one game, if you want to make this point.

While I also used a relatively small sample size, it was a distribution of games across an entire season.

I disagree with your reference to me "proving" my point. I also disagree with the idea that since the Wizards have not been much better than .500 with Arenas, he's the most overrated All-Star in the NBA. Five guys play the game, and one elite player doesn't mean you make it to the NBA Finals every season. Since Arenas started playing for the Wizards, he has wildly inflated the values of the players around him — check out the rise in production he has gotten out of players such as Butler, Jared Jeffries, Larry Hughes and DeShawn Stevenson. Given his ability made teammates better, combined with his incredible offensive talent, I fail to see how his reputation exceeds his production. Citing 14 games doesn't prove anything, and much as you may degrade his value last season, that sample size was both larger and fully representative of the entirety of Arenas' impact on the team.

At Sunday, December 16, 2007 8:09:00 PM, Blogger David Friedman said...


Rather than offering instruction about how to gather quotes I'd be more interested in hearing you explain what, if anything, is untrue about the information in the quotes and my comments about them. Those quotes were hardly the sum total of my case--and I don't see you offering any credible quotes that tell a contrary story.

A small sample is a small sample; it does not matter how it was "distributed." Anyway, my "sample" is not small, despite your rather selective reading of my post: I referred to Arenas' entire body of work in Washington, which consists of a mediocre overall record. It is strange to see you refer to Arenas' individual skills and his alleged ability to make his teammates better; how exactly do you reconcile those things with a record that is barely above .500 or the fact that all the players he supposedly made better are in fact playing better without him?

Obviously, getting to the Finals is not a prerequisite for being the regular season MVP and I never suggested that it is. However, I expect the MVP to have more impact than Arenas does. The team is not that great with him and, after a month, is playing better without him. I wrote a more tentatively worded post about this a few games after Arenas got hurt but the longer that he is out and the team does well the more obvious it is that he is not an MVP level player.

Regarding the Wizards leading the East for about a minute and a half, how do you know that Arenas was the primary reason for that? It seems just as likely that Butler was the primary reason or that credit could be divided amongst the team's three stars.

At Monday, December 17, 2007 4:12:00 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

You made the wrong point from the "evidence" given: the better stats, the improved winning %, better ball movement quotes, etc.

If Gilbert were really just an overrated All-Star, he'd be Kobe Bryant-someone who makes his team better, but not by nearly as much as one might think.

However, you're saying that Gilbert actually makes his team worse by being on the floor. All that stuff about the better offense, the better record, all of that points to Gilbert making his team worse.

No player who makes his team worse when he's on the floor should be an All-Star. I guess I don't understand why you didn't make the claim that Gilbert is actually a selfish, not-very-good player instead of the one that he's merely overrated.

At Monday, December 17, 2007 7:58:00 PM, Blogger David Friedman said...


Without Bryant's nearly unprecedented scoring blitz after the All-Star Break last year, the Lakers would not have made the playoffs. I have documented here in numerous articles exactly how much Kobe helps to make his team and his teammates better.

I am not willing to go so far yet as to say that Arenas makes his team worse, precisely because this is a small sample of games. All I am saying at the moment is that if he were truly an MVP-level player then his team's performance would not spike without him even for just a month. A team with two other All-Star level players can overcome the loss of one All-Star if the other two All-Stars play well and everyone else who moves up one notch in the rotation is productive. However, if a team loses an MVP-level player then that means that one All-Star has to become an MVP-level player and so on down the line through the rest of the roster.

It is interesting that some people think that I went too far with my conclusions and other people say that I did not go far enough. All I did was report on and analyze what has actually happened to this point: an allegedly MVP-level player has been out for a month with an injury and his team is doing very well without him; that confirms the impression I already had formed that Arenas was never an MVP-level player in the first place. Arenas is productive enough individually to demonstrate that he has All-Star level talent, which is why I specifically did not question that.

At Monday, January 12, 2009 11:18:00 PM, Blogger Arun Bhattacharya said...

The Wizards are now 7-30 without Gilbert Arenas. Still think he's overrated?

At Tuesday, January 13, 2009 4:19:00 AM, Blogger David Friedman said...


Yes, I do still think that Arenas is overrated. What does the team's current record have to do with his skill set? The Wizards made the playoffs last year while Arenas basically missed the entire season--and they played better when he was out than they did in the few games that he played.

Clearly, the Wizards did not become this bad just because Arenas is not playing. The Wizards have gotten by without Arenas in the past when Antonio Daniels was healthy. This season, the Wizards replaced Arenas with a banged up Daniels (who has since been traded), Dee Brown--who had never started an NBA game prior to this season--and Mike James, who has never been the main starting pg for a winning team. If the Wizards had been able to replace Arenas with a competent NBA starting pg they would not be quite as terrible as they've been.

Also, the Wizards have not adequately replaced starting center Brendan Haywood.

The Wizards have never been more than a .550 team even with Arenas and two other All-Stars, so I simply do not understand the fascination/love affair that Wizards fans have with a pg who shoots too many threes, plays little defense and is more interested in being a sideshow than being a championship level player.

I stand by my original statement that Arenas will never be the main player on a team that gets past the second round of the playoffs.

At Tuesday, January 13, 2009 5:58:00 PM, Blogger Arun Bhattacharya said...

Your case just goes to show that Antonio Daniels was underrated. For years he had the best assist to turnover ratio in the league, has an NBA championship, and is a veteran savvy. But he was an aging veteran. The injury to Gilbert Arenas has hurt Antonio Daniels career in the longterm since Daniels should not have been logging 30 mpg.

The Wizards had better pieces in 2007-08 than they did when Gilbert Arenas was healthy. Andray Blatche and Darius Songailia were better than Michael Ruffin and Kwame Brown. Roger Mason was better than any player that the Wizards had coming off the bench since Gilbert Arenas has been with the Wizards including Antonio Daniels. Heck, Nick Young was better than any player Gilbert had coming off the bench in his rookie season.

Brendan Haywood finally got the playing time he deserved, it was joke that Etan Thomas was starting over him. Haywood was a top 10 center last year, before he wasn't even a top 20 player.

And the Wizards did not prove to be a better team without him. Last time I checked, they have lost twice to Cleveland Cavs in the playoffs. Now they are one of the worst teams in the league that has no 3 point shooting, cant' score in the 4th quarter.

Antawn Jamison and Caron Butler making the all star team in years past has been the case of the Eastern Conference being weaker than the Western Conference. There is no way Jamison makes an all star in the Western Conference over guys like Duncan, Amare, and Boozer. More than likely, neither of these guys will make the all star team this year.

I think we get the point that Gilbert Arenas is not LeBron James or Kobe Bryant. But when all 3 were healthy, the Wizards were #1 in the Eastern Conference at this time two years ago. Certainly, Gilbert is a top 10 player when he was healthy.

At Tuesday, January 13, 2009 7:22:00 PM, Blogger David Friedman said...


I agree that Antonio Daniels was underrated. That does not change the fact that Arenas is overrated. It just explains why the Wizards were better able to absorb Arenas' absence in previous years than they have this season.

I also agree that the Wizards had a better supporting cast last year than this year. Again, this just indicates that the Wizards have plummeted not so much because Arenas is hurt but because of other factors. Would the Wizards be better than 7-30 if Arenas had been healthy? Without question--but they would not be an elite team, nor is he an elite player.

Whether or not Butler or Jamison make the All-Star team this year does not change the fact that Arenas played with two Eastern Conference All-Stars in years past but never took the Wizards beyond the second round of the playoffs.

Having the best record in the East for a minute and a half in the middle of the season means very little. Other teams had injury problems and there were other mitigating factors. When the dust cleared, the Wizards were a lower level playoff team that got knocked out in the first round.

Arenas has made the All-NBA Second Team once, so to call him a top 10 player is more than a bit of a reach. I'd say that when he is healthy he is a top 20 player--and that is why I suggested that he is overrated, because the 18th or 19th best player in the league should not be mentioned in MVP discussions.

At Tuesday, January 13, 2009 10:44:00 PM, Blogger David Friedman said...


The larger point that goes beyond how to rate Arenas is that people throw around the terms "elite" and "top 10 player" far too loosely. Here is a list of 10 of the best NBA players. Assuming Arenas is healthy, who would you take off of this list in his favor?

1) Kobe
2) LeBron

CP3, Dwight Howard, Dwyane Wade, Tim Duncan, Dirk Nowitzki, Kevin Garnett, Amare Stoudemire, Yao Ming

We can argue about the order to place those last eight in or even if guys like Chris Bosh, Paul Pierce, Steve Nash, Joe Johnson or Brandon Roy should be in that group--not to mention T-Mac, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer when they are healthy.

I would not take a healthy Gilbert Arenas over any of the above players when they are healthy, so even a healthy Arenas might not crack my top 20 now that guys like Parker, Roy and Joe Johnson have emerged; Arenas was a top 20 player a couple years ago, though.

At Friday, January 16, 2009 4:19:00 AM, Blogger Arun Bhattacharya said...

Of course Gilbert is not a top 10 player now. But he was in 2006-07. , hence the reason he made the all 2nd NBA team that year. 29 ppg, 6 apg, and 4.5 rpg over the course of 2 seasons.

I'm just wondering who is really overrating the Gilbert Arenas right now.

The team the Wizards lost to was LeBron's Cavaliers in 2006. Sorry but there was no shame in the Wizards losing that team which eventually made it to the finals. Gilbert did his job by scoring 35 ppg against one of the better defensive teams in the league. I'm not sure how Arenas was supposed to stop LeBron from getting his 35.

That Cavs team was so good that year they took that Pistons team which won 65 games to 7 games. The Wizards also remained competitive throughout that entire series, losing 3 games by 1 point. If the refs called traveling on LeBron on a few occasions, it is conceivable that the Wizards would have won that series.

While the Wizards have good offensive weapons with Gilbert, their biggest problems were on the defensive end. They have lost their better defensive players (Larry Hughes and Jared Jeffries). Their coach also refused to play their best defensive options like Brendan Haywood, and instead played inferior players like Etan Thomas and Michael Ruffin. While Antawn Jamison and Caron Butler are great offensive players, they are also below average defensively. Eddie Jordan is also considered by many hardcore Wizard fans to be a below average head coach since he doesn't preach defense. He often refused to play his best options like Brendan Haywood.

Gilbert also puts fans in the stands, perhaps the biggest reason why the Wizards gave him 111 mil. The Golden State Warriors knew this and that's why they offered Arenas a max contract of 105 mil. Even though the Wizards were competive last year, their attendance dropped until Gilbert Arenas returned. Sadly, salaries in the NBA are not about wins but putting fans in the stands.

In my opinion Gilbert Arenas is no more overrated than someone like Allen Iverson after than 2001 finals run and Tracy McGrady.

Will Gilbert Arenas win a ring? It's hard to say. Even great players like Ewing, Barkley, Stockton, and Malone haven't won rings but I consider them great players. But if injuries don't hold him back, he could find himself back in discussion as a top 15 player in this league.

At Friday, January 16, 2009 3:08:00 PM, Blogger David Friedman said...


Does one year in which Arenas was perhaps the 10th best player in the NBA legitimately confer "elite" or "top 10" status on him in your opinion? Players who are truly "elite" make the All-NBA First Team on an annual basis.

The post that you are commenting on is over a year old. I don't know that anyone is overrating Arenas right now--especially since he has not played in months--but he certainly was overrated for an extended period of time.

No one said that there was any "shame" in losing to Cleveland. My assertion about Arenas is that he is not/was not an elite player and that he will never be the best player on a team that advances past the second round of the playoffs.

Saying that a series could have been changed by a few calls going differently is meaningless in the context of this discussion; that could be said of many playoff series and has nothing to do with my comparison of Arenas' skill set to the skill sets of players who are truly elite.

We sure can see the tremendous upturn that the Wizards have made since firing the coach who you consider to be so terrible; the reality is that Eddie Jordan did an excellent job in Washington, annually leading that team to the playoffs even though his most prominent player (Arenas) was more interested in being a sideshow than in working on his weaknesses.

Whatever Washington's reasons for signing Arenas to that huge contract, that deal will turn out to be an albatross for the franchise. Are a lot of fans showing up to see Arenas sitting on the bench in a suit?

Iverson has led four teams past the first round of the playoffs and earned seven All-NBA selections, including three First Team nods. I'd take him over Arenas any day of the week.

McGrady's teams have not had much postseason success but he has performed very well in the playoffs, averaging more points, rebounds and assists than Arenas. More significantly, the Rockets have won roughly two thirds of their games when he played but have played like a lottery team without him, even when Yao was available. Other than this season--when the Wizards had many other problems besides Arenas being out--the Wizards have not been much better than .500 with or without Arenas. He simply does not have that big of an impact on the bottom line--wins.

Arenas does not even belong in the discussion with the Top 50 players you mentioned.

Again, if you consider a healthy Arenas to be a top 15 player in the NBA don't just say that in the abstract. In a previous comment, I listed more than a dozen players who I would rate above Arenas. Which of those players would you rate below a healthy Arenas?

At Tuesday, January 20, 2009 2:46:00 PM, Blogger Arun Bhattacharya said...

And let me also add that Iverson is a top 50 player for what he was able to accomplish in that 2001 season and is above Arenas from a career standpoint. But in the past 6 years since Arenas has been in the league, Iverson hasn't done anything more than Arenas has.

At Tuesday, January 20, 2009 3:07:00 PM, Blogger David Friedman said...


Although I would take a healthy Iverson over a healthy Arenas right now, please note that in my earlier reply to your comment I did not even include Iverson when I listed 20 players who I would take ahead of Arenas right now.

You wrote, "Certainly, Gilbert is a top 10 player when he was healthy." I am respectfully asking you a simple question: Which of the players listed below would you rank lower than a healthy Arenas?

1) Kobe
2) LeBron

CP3, Dwight Howard, Dwyane Wade, Tim Duncan, Dirk Nowitzki, Kevin Garnett, Amare Stoudemire, Yao Ming

Chris Bosh, Paul Pierce, Steve Nash, Joe Johnson, Brandon Roy-- not to mention T-Mac, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer when they are healthy.


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