SAN ANTONIO – As soon as Gilbert Arenas stood up and walked to the scorer’s table late in the first quarter, the knucklehead in the stands at the AT&T Center yelled, “Hey ref, check Arenas! I think he’s got a gun!”
It wasn’t funny because it was hardly original and not something Arenas hasn’t already heard dozens of times in the three weeks he’s been back in the league with the Grizzlies.
Of course, the other thing he’s heard is how it might be difficult for a guy with two bad knees and a reputation to fit in on a Memphis team that has spent the past year developing a good sense of chemistry.
“Gilbert’s fine,” said Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins. “I don’t know why anybody thought he wouldn’t fit in. Gil is a good player. He’s had some tough times with injuries. He can really shoot the ball. He and O.J. (Mayo) play well together. They both can handle the ball and play in the pick and roll. He can also spot up and come off screens and he’s a veteran who gives us poise with that group as well. I think I like his versatility and that poise part the most and his ability to shoot.”
There had been talked of him joining up with Kobe Bryant & Co. and he had a private workout for the Lakers before the trade deadline back in February. But now he’s averaged 5.4 points in 14.5 minutes a night in his first 10 games with the Grizzlies and is slowly finding his shooting stroke and confidence.
When he came up with a loose ball, drove the length of the court and went straight in for a layup over a helpless Manu Ginobili in the second quarter, there wasn’t another one of the Grizzlies players who looked more comfortable in his skin.
Could it be that by hooking on with a lower profile team in a smaller market and away from the limelight that the erstwhile Agent Zero has found the perfect place to make something out of nothing?