Bullets Fever

A blog and community website for the Washington Wizards and their fans.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Ivan Carter on Gilbert Arenas: "I have no idea what he's talking about half the time."

In terms of pure numbers, the Wizards rank right around where they did last year. They're shooting a lot of free throws, taking good care of the ball, giving up too many open shots, and allowing too many points. Yet they still sit at 5-9 on the season only a year after finishing 42-40 with an pythagorean won-loss record of 46-36.

What's the difference so far? Ivan Carter says there's something very wrong with Gilbert Arenas.
Gilbert's problems remain a mystery to me. With each passing game it seems that he's getting more and more caught up in the referees than actually playing. After the game, he talked at length about how the refs are calling the game different from last season, about how he can't "figure out" how a particular game is being called and how he can't wait until January when the refs find some consistency. This is disturbing on many levels but especially so because he's the franchise player and controls the ball most of the time. Basically, I have no idea what he's talking about half the time.

Gil's in his sixth season, he's a two-time all star and this franchise has deeply invested in him so perhaps it's time for him to focus on what's important and forget about the zebras. It's affecting his play and that in turn, is affecting this team.
Of all members of mainstream and independent media, Carter is probably the closest to the Wizards. If he has no idea what's going on with Gilbert Arenas, then I don't know who does.

There are a couple interesting theories in the comments section of Carter's blog entry. One commenter speculates that Arenas' scouting of officials' tendencies in the offseason has caused a phenomenon where "every time he drives to the basket he appears to be trying to get a 3 point play." Another speculates that "Gil usually uses the 'everyone is against me' thing as motivation, but lately, I think he's just getting too wrapped up in it. He's so focused on trying to be a super-star, and getting noticed for this and that."

I personally think that the major problem with Arenas right now is that he's stretched himself too far into other causes. There's no doubt that his antics (including promoting his Halo team and his blog, among others) allows Arenas to feel loved by a city who's been betrayed far too often, but Arenas is starting to get to the point where he can't concentrate mentally.

It seems wierd to say this, but Gilbert Arenas' plight reminds me of college students who succeed in high school, but struggle with grades in college. One would think that the students struggle due to increased academic difficulty, but the element that kills many college students (including me, to some degree) is the tendency to thrust yourself into so many clubs and extracurricular responsibility that you simply don't have time or mental capacity to work dilligently on anything. Eventually, the pressures of so many different activities crash together in one's head, making it difficult to completely focus on each individual one. Eventually, simple prioritizing is not enough to prevent your brain from overloading, and the only way out is to drop one of the activities.

Considering some of Arenas' past actions, he doesn't seem to have a brain that prioritizes well. Arenas tends to do what he feels without thinking the action through. You can only go back and look at his denial of the claim "quirky" to understand his self-awareness. This is not a knock on Arenas at all: in many ways, it is a blessing. He's an extremely kind soul who wants to pour himself into many causes, and he gives off a sense of genuiness that is so rare among professional athletes.

However, Arenas is facing the classic college student dilema. He knows he wants to be involved with many things, and he knows he wants to show genuine devotion to all of his causes. But just like the college student's sagging academic performance, Arenas is struggling to perform his best consistently in what matters most: on the court. His facade with the referees is an expression of personal confusionhe's stronger and faster than ever, so he believes it can't be his fault that he's been so inconsistent. The reality is that Arenas is often too subconsciously preoccupied in his head to perform as consistently as before.

So, even though we've seen Arenas antics produce some incredible material for the blogosphere, as a Wizards fan, I sincerely hope he takes down his blog, stops sponsering the Halo team, and try to focus on what's important.

Agree? Disagree? What's Agent Zero's problem this year?

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Anonymous Garrett said...

I agree with most of your article but not with the ending... Writing a blog like Gilbert's would take what? 10-15 minutes at most. That is not taking any focus away from the Wizards. Read his post today in which he talks about helping out a kid with cancer. You probably want him to stop helping a victim of cancer so that he can focus more on the Wizards...

3:59 PM

Blogger Pradamaster said...

A couple things:

1. Writing a blog takes more than 10-15 minutes. I can pretty much guarantee you that as a blogger. More importantly, writing a blog is a ticket to a whole wealth of other potential distractions that are out there.

2. More importantly, your implication is that I have a problem with Arenas' generosity. That's hardly what I'm saying. In fact, I think it's admirable that he is so genuine in his outside causes. Unfortunately, nobody can support every single cause that they wish, and nobody can support every cause with as much enthusiasm and genuineness as they wish. Even the friendliest of people cannot be friends with everyone. At a certain point, you have to pick the people and activities most important to you and weed out the rest.

What I'm advocating for is that Arenas picks his spots more effectively. I obviously don't know for sure, but the sense I get is that he struggles to prioritize and ends up seeing all his responsibilities cloud his brain during games. My theory is that if he prioritized more effectively, he'd play better. If he struggles with prioritizing, perhaps he needs to stick to causes he truely believes in and focus only on those.

I really don't think that's too much to ask, especially of a basketball superstar.

6:22 PM


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