The Wizards’ Great Debate

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HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – Sixty-one seconds of wobbly footage (sorry, it’s all we could dig up) is hardly enough time to examine the fit in Washington.

And by the fit, we obviously mean how Gilbert Arenas and rookie point guard John Wall can work together in the backcourt for the Wizards this season. The great debate began long before the Wizards actually drafted Wall with the No. 1 overall pick in the June draft.

Everyone has an opinion about if it can and how it might work:

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We’re going on record here at the hideout as wanting to see how these guys work together. There’s no need to trade Arenas yet, not before we see him in action with Wall as his wingman. (Despite this notion that this is now Wall’s team, we’re not buying it. Arenas is still the alpha dog.)

Arenas is still one of the most ruthless scorers of his generation. And from all indications, he’s spent his time away from the spotlight tightening every facet of his game in anticipation of a monster comeback season.

Having Kirk Hinrich around as insurance also helps ease any tensions that might exist between Arenas and Wall, while also providing the Wizards with a living example of a veteran guard that understands when and how to defer to a younger teammate with loads of talent and potential.

That said, there are folks much closer to the situation that think this pairing could actually work, albeit with Wall “running the show” and Arenas as his wing man.

My main man Michael Lee of the Washington Post explains:

With Wall running the show, Arenas will be freed from the burden of balancing making decisions for the team and going for his. Now, Arenas can simply focus on scoring, which plays more into his natural instincts. With Arenas moving to shooting guard, he also won’t have to worry about defending the quicker point guards in the league, ones like Tyreke Evans, who gave him so much trouble last season. Yes, the 6-foot-4 Arenas will have to contend with shooting guards who are much taller and stronger, but those bigger guards will also have to deal with him on the other end.

[Flip] Saunders implemented a two-guard offense near the end of last season, and while he will use some of those plays, the plan is for Arenas to routinely spell Wall from ball-handing duties, especially if there comes a time when Wall gets overwhelmed. And, with a rookie point guard trying to handle Saunders’s complicated offense and pressure from opposing teams looking to fluster him, you can bank on that happening a few times.

Arenas will be the highest paid player on the Wizards for the next four seasons, unless some team decides to take a chance on him in the interim, so he remains an important figure whose performance and behavior will always be heavily scrutinized. But as one team insider told me, Arenas doesn’t have the “juice” he once had, having exhausted his good favor within the organization with that locker room incident.

There is the potential that Arenas will grow frustrated with a somewhat marginalized role. The team has several new pieces, but some of the holdovers are used to deferring to the veteran Arenas.

His fourth comeback will be underway in two weeks, but since the Wizards’ fortunes no longer reside in Arenas’s ability to play at an elite level, success will be measured mostly in his ability to conform. That still is a lot to expect of him.

In a sea of training camp questions from around the league, sorting out the Arenas-Wall situation looms as one of the most intriguing. Never mind that the expectations for this Wizards team are as low as they’ve been in years and they’re playing in arguably the most rugged division (Southeast) in the league this year.

This is a turning point season for the franchise, now that Ted Leonsis is in control and the Wizards are starting basically from scratch. This Arenas-Wall chemistry experiment either works like magic and the Wizards take a turn for the better or it blows up and Arenas has to go.

Either way, it is must-see drama, especially during training camp, for all of us.

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57 Comments

  1. china says:

    Hopefully most of you are Wizards fans because I am trying to get the word out because I am about to get sick to my stomach again! You are about to witness efforts to make sure B. Griffin get ROY no matter what Wall does just as they did him in college. Wall is by far in a league of his own but Tea Baggers are tired of seeing these guys praised. Pay very close attention from here on in and watch what I tell ya!

  2. Brett says:

    yeah right! Raptors are going to be #1!!!!

  3. Bfan says:

    Oh yeah keep Arenas, pure scorers are hard to come by, that is 1 of the Bull’s question marks.

  4. Bfan says:

    Arenas can play the 2. He’s as tall as Wade and even taller than Ben Gorden. But don’t expect too much from Wall. I’m from Chicago and even though Rose won rookie of the year it didn’t make that much difference as far as team success. There was still alot to be done. I think da Bulls are closer this year but there are still question marks. It still takes bigs in the NBA a solid rotation of them.Look at LA and Boston when they won. Sounds like you guys mite be thin there so be patiant. It still mite take a couple of years.

  5. siri says:

    Last season the Wizards lost 56 games. Won 26 games. I don’t care who starts. The Wizards ranked second from last In the conference standings last season, and the Nets having the worst season. I hope they have a better season. I want to say I know, if no one gets hurt, they will have a better season. Let coach play Wall and agent O any way, any way he deems necessary. Just win games, man. To get to the play-offs, the Wizards must win games.

  6. coy says:

    Guys, let us all remember that Agent zero is aging, he has lost his touch unlike those days when he is running from both ends of the court and soaring high in the playoffs. I think the best move that the Wizards would do is to trade Gilbert Areanas. . .

  7. jin says:

    It’s all about chemistry. I think arenas will be their main option in scoring than wall. GO WIZARDS!

  8. MERICK says:

    Stop debating about the wizards… if they will make the playoffs, they will exit in the first round.

    Everybody! focus on the miami heat! they are scary… 2011 nba champions! consider it done!

  9. clin2y_thirteen says:

    too bad for Agent 0, if he doesn’t produce

  10. edij says:

    go wizards!!! i have been waiting for this season for the wizards to rise!!!!……go arenas, hinrich and wall
    by the way wizards might go to the playoffs… they need a better center…

  11. Dongz23 says:

    The article here is suggesting us that we might see Wall and Arenas play together this season. That is maybe true. . Wall at 1 and Arenas at 2. A quick point guard paired with a sharp shooter. A replay of Rose and Gordon in the Chicago land, and they were good to watch.

  12. JTU says:

    First of.. getting a John Wall can only make the WIzards a better team .. Wall and Arenas are two toally different players .. Gilbert at his best is a top 5 point guard .. but probably the best scoring point guard .. getting John Wall is a green light for Arenas to start doing what he does best .. and thats score and create for others .. Agent “9″ is not done .. he is about to enter his prime this year (hes only 28) .. I dont get why alot of you people think this will not work .. When Larry Hughes and Caron Butler were .. they were avging 20+ points with Arenas in the backcourt (at the same time .. Eddie Jordan’s offense ran with both bringing the ball up court) .. adding Wall would only make this team better .. This is going to be a dangerous YOUNG team .. Mcgee had a GREAT summer league .. all he needs to do now is use the experience he got training with Team USA .. and put his talent every game this year .. Kirk Hinrich .. hes a proven player .. solid veteran leadership .. Andray Blatche .. people think hes a headcase but really now ? after 5 years in the league, you say that now ? He had a breakout year last year and has gotten better every year .. hes going to continue that trend this year .. Nick Young .. a small disappointment but still loads of potential .. he will be the x factor off the bench .. if he can come off the bench and provde those points in pivitol moments of the game .. the wizards could be pushing for the playoffs .. remember, this team may be young .. but 5 of the players on this team have been in the playoffs in big games .. so they may be young .. but they dont lack a winning attitude .. this season will be one of the most hyped and interesting seasons in the history of this franchise .. lets hope it ends well with a trip to the playoffs

  13. adam wasser says:

    this might not seem relevant at first glance, but david wesley was a much respected shooting guard only at 6 foot. Arenas is much more talented (question in regards to wesley is his discipline) and has incredible leaping ability where he can get up to rebound and contest the shots of taller players,. If Mcgee, Blathce, and thorton learn how to defend the rim, then watch out! This is their most critical liability since I believe that as well as Wall will be making decisions on the fast break, Wall’s ability to penetrate in the halfcourt will be even better, which means the wizards must improve their interior D. It will be exciting to see if the athletic ability in the front court will transpire into at least above average defense and with Coach Flaunders at the helm (He further developed Garnett’s D, coached Ben Wallace when he was defensive player of the year 2 times- and everyone wonders why Big Ben isn’t the same player he once was, tamed the super ego of Rasheed Wallace- piece of cake compared to arenas), I see a lot of potential.

  14. CHARLES says:

    everyone is now against Gilbert. but I think gilbert is still one of the best players in the league right now. before he was suspended, his averages are good people. better look at it

  15. Sandile says:

    let’s take note that chemistry should be for the whole team not for Agent-0 and J-Wall. If they bealive that they should be in the top 6, then they need to be clear on two things for the season- Are they playing for a spot in the play-offs or are they challenging one of the teams in the top 6. Whoever brings the ball there should be chemistry on the whole team.

  16. mister blogger says:

    As long as arenas will not aim his gun on john wall they will be ok…

  17. paul in chicago says:

    Sorry guys kirk hinrich will start at point guard all of you washington people will see what thic guy is about

  18. Sammy says:

    Wall might be at pg, but Gil will still be the first option as long as they can play togther.

  19. ques says:

    Arenas is the ring leader of the Wizz. With that being said WALL will have to follow ARENAS’S LEAD. IT CAN NOT BE THE WALL SHOW. THAT JUST CAN NOT HAPPEN.
    Ok Arenas did some bad things ok. I hope he learned from that. We must move on from that and look at the future and not the past.
    On to Wall he is not gong to come in and just change the whole team. Sorry but its not gonna happen.
    In order for him to be a great player he must follow Arenas’s lead. Together they could take the team to a place where they haven’t been.

  20. big bily boy says:

    Interesting discussion going on. I have been following the Nba for about 7 years and cant get enough of it!, some one mentioned how Larry Hughes and Gilbert Arenas worked together in w=Washington a couple of years back, to me this situation is a bit different then that. Does any one know of a similar situation like walls and arenas that has happened in the past? If so i would love to hear about it. Yours Sincerely Big Billy BOY………

    and with regard to REC about Kirk Penny YEAH! he should be in the nba but not with this team who are loaded at the point/ shooting , im thinking Charlotte for more game time and better production.

  21. Adrian Soon says:

    I suggest Wizards to play them togather. PG John Wall SG Gilbert Arenas… Anyway, Gilbert is a shooter and J Wall loves to cut in and attack the basket. That is no conflicts inbetween, Meanwhile, with Andray Blatch, I think The Wizards shall be an average team. Good luck Wiz

  22. joseph_tmac1 says:

    its better for the wizards to put John Wall at the point position and then Agent 0 will at the 2 spot by that its a solid backcourt for the wizards if the chemistry putting wall and arenas will click. looking back at the bench back up backcourt tandem of kirk hinrich and nick young will provides spark at the back court.. i think chemistry will be a factor to success if the wizards will play as a team and guided with a good coach.

  23. PhatKickr says:

    Wall plays in Gillys Arena so Wall will know what do to for Gilly. Kick it!

  24. Vlad says:

    i think that coach saunders will work it out i got faith in him. all depends on gilberts mentality he knows wall is replacing him at the point. allthough i think gil is as curious as we all are to see what they can do together. only time will tell

  25. bobby says:

    Should Gilbert Arenas be starting Point Guard? The answer to that is the same as “are these Moderators really checking these forums?”

    I saw no. Because they are getting paid minimum wage to read a load of crap posted by a load of homeless people.

  26. REC says:

    Sign Kirk Penney!

  27. Lewis Gomez says:

    I don’t really care but, J. Wall should be starting as point guard during the season and Gilbert Arenas as a shooting guard to make them work together so the team can work.

  28. Robert says:

    Can this guard combination work. Remember the Larry Hughes combination and Gilbert Arenas.The issue is simple can Gilbert Arenas accept a lesser role of handling the ball and mentally function with the teams best interest first instead of himself. He is the one to be the better person and professional. However,time is the answer. If this backcourt combination can not work the Wizards management should not waste time and trade him. The future is more important. The fans have been waiting for a title and more playoff appearances.The established backcourt of Arenas and Wall could create tremendous problems to opposing teams.The management should be building a stronger frontcourt that can compliment the backcourt. Too many simular players that are in the 6-6 to 6-8 range shoud be replaced with taller quality players that are 7-0 feet that can play the center and power forward positions.

  29. INSAAANE says:

    It’s not about who’s starting at the Point. It’s about who’s going to bring the ball up-court…

  30. royi440 says:

    absoloutely right… there is no way in the world of knowing how these two will play together, even after camps start because training is noyhing like the real deal. Just like the miami big 3, the only way of knowing how it will play out is seeing it happening, before that anything is possible

  31. Miami Heat says:

    Chris Paul is a better point guard than John Wall!

  32. rocketfan_believeit or not says:

    I think this team will indeed be one of the underdogs if the suposed “dynamic duo” formed by Arenas- Wall works out. It is good to see Arenas training trying to let behind what happened last season, however the enviroment in the locker room after the incident and how the rest of the team feels around him will determine in a very important way how things will work for the Wiz.

    Hinrich is a terrific player to have as PG-SG back up when either Arenas or Wall need to get some rest, but only if Saunders finds the way to make Arenas behave and also get comfortable with his new role this team will fight for one of the 8 spots in playoffs.

    To me, this seems more like a challenge to Flip Saunders trying to get the best out of Wall’s on his rookie season and trying to convert him into one of the elite PG’s the legue has, and trying to make a tremendous player like Arenas deal with his rough manners. By themselves, they got nothing else to prove, Walls responsibility is not that heavy this year, probably he will be fighting for Rookie of the year Award with Blake Griffin while Arenas has proven already to be one of the best scorers in the league. How much will and heart do they have to make this a dream backcourt? I can’t wait to find out.

    • Zzanzabar says:

      @rocketfan
      Very well put. Up until now I haven’t really taken a good look at Washington, but I see them in the mix for the 7th or 8th spot in the playoffs. Which team does anyone think that they can beat 4 out of 7 in the playoffs though? Maybe Atlanta? I’m not sure about that but it is possible.

      • rocketfan_believeit or not says:

        Certainly Atlanta and Charlotte are the ones most likely to fall against Wsh if they play against each other, but if things don’t have a crazy unexpected turnaround, those teams will be finishing 6th,7th and 8th, and still I am having second toughts about Charlotte now they waived Dampier. Tyrus Thomas plays well, but he is better as a PF, I don’t think Nazr Mohammed or Kwame will be the solution they pray for. So lets see if Charlotte has what it takes only depending on Jackson and Wallace in offense and in their already very good and suddenly improved defense now they acquired Najera.

        McGee and Blatche promise a lot, but this will be the confirmation year for them, either is a solid year or they prove they were a “one hit wonder” last year with Arenas not having the oportunity to score for them. What do you think the ranking will end up like in the eastern…make a prediction Z

  33. codyweeks23 says:

    aright its obvease that wall will start this year.and i think the wizards should trade agent 0 and start kirk over him and they could easly get some1 out of gilbert.so if u really look at it the wizards could make a smart trade this year if they trade areanes.

    • daez says:

      I’m not too sure about that. True, I think John Wall will get a starting spot at PG. But I’m not so sure about trading Arenas. He’s a All-Star calibre player. Every team needs a player who can play at an elite level, especially the Wizards. Hinrich isn’t that guy. Wall isn’t an All-Star yet, but no doubt he will be. Arenas is a touchy subject. He is good, but he hasn’t played for awhile and the lock room thing. I think if he really brings it next season, playing with Wall will complement him greatly and the Wizards could be really successful, maybe not playoffs good but still a big improvement from last season. If he doesn’t step up, trading would be a good idea, though I can’t think of a team that has someone worth Arenas that not only would they be willing to giving away, but also willing to take on Arenas.

      • Brian says:

        First of all if areanas does no good next season the wizards will be stuck with him beacause of that huge contract he got a few years back when he was going hard. If hes no good then no one will want that contract on their roster

  34. Jayce_C says:

    I think the X factors going to be Mcgee to see if he can keep his game up at the Defense in the paint and Being a rebounding presence If he can they may make the playoffs

  35. Devo says:

    Gilbert Areans will be back this year as one of the best players in the NBA. Having John Wall at the point will free Gilbert from being that pass frist and shoot second player which is not fit for a natural scorer like Gil. Having a quick PG that can get him wide open shots will only benefit him. All the stuff that’s happen to him the past few years is only motivating him to have a moster year…. just more fuel to his fire!! Wait, watch, and see……

  36. tenki says:

    Top 6 in the East:
    1. Boston -defending conference champions.
    2. Miami -making the sacrifices necessary to win, and they are going to prove it this season.
    3. Orlando -D12 and company is up to the challenge against Miami.
    4. Chicago -the Jazz revamped with Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah, second best center behind D12.
    5. Milwaukee -Andrew Bogut is back!
    6. Atlanta -even if they overpaid Joe Johnson, their roster is still intact and they are hungry to win as well.

    Washington is still behind these teams, but if Agent Zero won’t behave like Allen Iverson, they should have at least two reasons why they belong at the top 6. John Wall is great, and he should complement Arenas’ game for their team to be successful. Otherwise, he and Arenas would definitely bang their heads against each other.

    • 3Peat,17,6 says:

      amen…i’m not even gonna lie that is my exact prediction 4 the east next yr…

      • rocketfan_believeit or not says:

        I would not put the celtics on top in the rankings, they will finish like in 3rd place, but as always, they will arrive to the playoffs hunger for another title and revamped with the almost hundred years of playoffs experience combined between all the players. And then, they will become the team to beat. But it is also my top 4 with MKE pushing Chicago in that 4th spot.

    • KGfan says:

      All sounds reasonable except for one thing. Joakim Noah the second best centre??? Either you’re a mad Chicago supporter or you’re insane. I wouldn’t even put him in the top five.

      • Law064 says:

        @ Tenki he has to be from the Windy city and on crack. I’m from Chicago and don’t think Noah is the second best on the team let alone behind D. Howard as 2nd best center. Noha is a great rebounder other than that he’s a hustler that make hustle plays. He’s not a lock down defender or top scorer. What makes him the second best center in the NBA or the East?? Please let me know.

  37. Ajax says:

    they sleeping on the wizards they are young and gunning wit some bullets in that chamber better watch out cuz opposing teams bout to face danger, u got Wall, Gil, josh howard at the 3, blatch, Mcgee bench hinrich, young, thorton, yi, and booker kinda nice to the alright they got scorers and defense we will ee how this play out WIZ ALL DAY DC BABY

  38. Jarred says:

    Maaan…the Wizards are going to be sick with Gil at the 2. He’s one of the best scorers in the league and I’ve seen video of him in the offseason…dude works hard every summer and is one of the quickest guards in the league and he’s explosive with a jumper. With his load lightend a bit because of Wall taking the PG duties…they will be the best backcourt in the League. Wizards are my favorite team…Gil’s been my favorite player since he was a Warrior. This team is stacked too, look at the roster. They’ll be one of the best in the East…top 6.

    • Jayce_C says:

      I think you forget about how much better the east has gotten With the Heat Magic Bulls Celtics Bucks Hawks… Charlotte is going to be fighting for a spot still New York Improving to the point of fighting for a spot.. The Wizards going to be pushing for even making the playoffs

      • GoKnicks says:

        It’s tough to say who’s going to make the playoffs this year in the Eastern Conference. The Heat, Magic, Celtics, Hawks, and Bulls are definites. With the Knicks, Amare has to stay healthy. If he can play a good 70 or 75 games, then the Knicks have a good chance at making the playoffs. Charlotte has emerged last season, so there is also a good shot of them making the playoffs.

        The Wizards have arguably one of the best backcourts in the league. Let’s not forget how talented Arenas is. If he stays healthy and out of trouble, then the Wizards will definitely make the playoffs. John Wall is in an excellent situation because he will be mentored by Arenas and Hinrich. There is no doubt in my mind that this kid will be one of the best players in the NBA once he’s at his peak. Although I’m a Knicks fan, I hope that the Wizards have a great season, and perhaps make an impact in the playoffs.

  39. Chris says:

    You’re crazy if you think anyone other than wall is starting at pg this season

  40. Kizzy KIre says:

    I’m Just going to Say it…. Your Crazy if you think that J. Wall isn’t going to be STARTING PG by the end of the 2010-2011 season!