Gilbert's Arena



Monday, August 14, 2006

Arenas won't play in the World Championships

With the deadline looming for the USA team to trim their final roster from 14 to 12, Gilbert Arenas made the decision easier for USA officials by pulling out of the tournament with an apparent groin injury. According to National Team Managing Director Jerry Colangelo, Arenas strained his groin in practice on Monday and was sent home as "a precautionary move" since "he has had a history regarding groin pulls". To be honest, I think that Gilbert was going to be cut in the next few days anyway, so this may just be a way to save him some embarrassment. Coach K has been playing Arenas and Bruce Bowen (the likely final cut) less and less, with the pair bottoming out at 6 minutes each in Sunday's win over Lithuania. Every other player got between 10 and 20 minutes.

Coach K has settled into a rotation with Chris Paul running one unit and Kirk Hinrich running the other, and frankly I don't blame him. Both Paul and Hinrich are pass-first point guards, and with the amount of scoring talent on the roster you need a PG who will distribute the ball, not a scoring combo guard like Gilbert. Another factor is that Coach K has stressed intense, full-court, defensive pressure on the ball, and Paul and Hinrich are both much better individual defenders than Gilbert. The final factor is that both Paul and Hinrich can stroke the open 3, so Gilbert doesn't even have an advantage over them in that department.

As strange as it sounds at first, I actually see the fact that Antawn Jamison will be the lone Wizard representing the US in international play this summer as a good sign. It shows that Jerry Colangelo built this team to win in the international game, rather than assembling a roster for star power. Jamison is not nearly the NBA star that Gilbert Arenas has become, but he's a much better fit for this international team than Gilbert would be. As much as Jamison struggles to defend quicker 3's and stronger 4's in the NBA, he can comfortably defend most 4's internationally because they are typically similar to him in terms of size and athleticism, and many prefer to face the basket and shoot jumpers. Additionally, on the offensive end his deadly spot-up shooting is invaluable because it will prevent teams from just sagging back in zones as they did against Allen Iverson, Richard Jefferson, and company in '04.

> In other news...

1. The Zards are still undecided on whether or not to leave Oleksiy Pecherov in Europe for another year. Apparently his rights are owned by a team in the Ukraine, and he was merely on loan to Paris Basket Racing last year. If he stays overseas, the Ukrainian team wants him to play for them, where the level of play is significantly lower than it is France. So now the braintrust is debating whether its worth it for him to get alot of playing time against Ukrainian competition, or if they should just buyout his contract and let him work against our big men in practice every day (and potentially play some games in the D-League).

2. The always amusing acerbic wit of Tom Knott was on full display today as he ripped Isiah Thomas for signing Jared Jeffries. A sample:

<< "What Jared brings to us more so than talent, he brings chemistry," (Isiah) Thomas said. Jeffries also brings an unsettling number of rim-busting layup attempts. This proclivity is not helpful to team chemistry or to a team's points on the scoreboard. >>

Knott also praises Ernie Grunfeld for not matching, predicting that the Zards would have been paying Jeffries big money to be our 8th or 9th man by 2008.

3. Wizards jerseys are only $39.99 during nbastore.com's summer clearance sale. You can also get Arenas or Jamison USA jerseys HERE. I'm excited to pick up the white Arenas #10 USA jersey. But then again, I'm someone whose jersey collection is extensive enough to include Tim Legler and Detlef Schrempf, so you may feel differently.

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