Phenom Gilbert Arenas
With young players in the league today like LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony, it’s easy to forget that there are more young players than just them. Many young players are overshadowed by the 2 phenoms. One of these players is Gilbert Arenas. At 23, Arenas was one of the youngest players on this years All-Star Team. Arenas is a blossoming star on a very exciting young team, the Washington Wizards. Arenas averages over 25 points per game, over 5 assists and almost 5 rebounds. Not bad for a 4th year player who only played in just 47 games as a rookie in Golden State!
Arenas left early from University of Arizona after his sophomore season and was drafted 31st overall by the Warriors. Arenas was often injured and only started 30 games as a rookie. Arenas broke into the scene in his second year averaging 18.4 points per game while winning the NBA’s most improved player award. After the 02/03 season Arenas was a free agent. He was highly suited but was eventually signed by the Wizards for 64 million. Critics agreed that Ernie Grunfeld dished out too much cash for just a 2 years veteran who had just turned 21. Arenas’s first season with the Wizards was a part success, especially when he played. Arenas managed to play in just 55 games due to an abdominal injury. When he did play Arenas showed flashes of his potential, averaging 19.5 points and 5 assists. But still the Wizards failed to make the postseason and management vowed to change things. After Washington signed Antawn Jamison, the Wizards looked like instant contenders in the east with a potential 3 All-Stars: Arenas, Jamison and the young versatile guard Larry Hughes. The Wizards started out hot and although have cooled down recently are still holding strong at 3rd place in the eastern conference.
Much of the turnaround has been due to Arenas’s huge success. Arenas, Jamison and Hughes form the highest scoring trio in the NBA. Arenas, averaging 25 points per game is 7th in the league in scoring. In February Jamison and Arenas were both voted to the All-Star team, the first Washington teammates since the 78/79 season. Arenas has constantly carried the Wizards through injuries to Hughes and through some tough stretches. He has had 4 40 point games and at one point in Hughes absence scored 30 points in 11 of 13 games. His excellent speed and size enable him to drive the lane and initiate contact, sending him to the free throw line where he is hitting 82% of his free throws. Arenas also has developed a deadly 3 point shot, hitting 143 so far this season. Arenas has the qualities of a star and is playing like one on a team that could very well make a deep playoff run in the East. So well others may be getting all the attention, keep your eye out for Gilbert Arenas.