Sunday , Jan , 13 , 2008 Oly Sandor

With or Without Agent Zero: Washington Wizards’ Future And Gilbert Arenas

With or Without Agent Zero: Washington Wizards' Future And Gilbert ArenasIt’s the elephant in the room nobody wants to discuss. Yet the longer we ignore it and stay silent, the more awkward things get. 

So forgive me for asking an uncomfortable but inevitable question: are the Washington Wizards better without Gilbert Arenas? Of course, the eccentric superstar has missed most of the season with knee troubles.

I’d say no. Even after the Wizards upset the league-leading Celtics last night. A team can always use their best player.

But Washington, for whatever reason, has better chemistry without Arenas.  And good chemistry can compensate for missing talent.

Antonio Daniels has replaced Arenas in the starting five. The veteran does two things for Eddie Jordan’s club. First, he’s a traditional point guard who involves others. Second, he’s an excellent defender.

Daniels’ passing and defense has changed the Wizards. Instead of entertaining with offense, they now spread the ball and get stops.  

No Arenas means more Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison. Butler, in particular, has emerged as a legitimate star. The rugged wing is a solid two-way player, capable of scoring and locking down opponents.

Daniels, Butler, and Jamison make the Wizards a more cohesive, functional team. And when Arenas returns -if he’s willing to modify his game- he’ll add to this improved squad.

Of course, when the game is on-the-line, Washington can ask Arenas to revert back to Agent Zero and take the final shot. Elite closers like Gil are scarce.

So there, the elephant in the room has been addressed.  The new-look Wizards can certainly find room for a slightly toned-down Arenas. That wasn’t too awkward or uncomfortable.

Are the Wizards better with or without Arenas? Get at us in the comment box below or hit us up in our f. Click here to read and subscribe to Oly Sandor’s NBA Blog.