(h/t CSN Washington for the clip)
In a radio interview on 106.7 The Fan in Washington D.C., Arenas said:
"John Wall and (Bradley) Beal remind me of when me and Larry (Hughes) got together. If you stop one, the other one's going to shine. If we're both going, it's going to be hard to beat us that night."
Arenas is admittedly still a fan of the Wizards, something that became obvious as he repeatedly used "we" and "us" when discussing his former team. There's nothing wrong with a little loyalty, but Arenas' post-career affinity for Washington could also have something to do with how generous the franchise has been in compensating him.
Former Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas made more money this year ($22M) than John Wall and Brad Beal combined.— Shaun Powell (@Powell2daPeople) April 24, 2014
Then again, it's also possible he's just trying to stir up a little buzz in advance of his latest comeback attempt:
According to his source (Gilbert Arenas), Arenas says he’ll work out to make a return to the NBA. http://t.co/VZG5JFCC3u— Lakers Nation (@LakersNation) April 25, 2014
As for the backcourt comparison, there's some truth to what Arenas said.
Wall and Beal are easily the best guards to play for the Wizards since Arenas and Hughes spent two seasons together in 2003-04 and 2004-05. There's plenty of athleticism in both pairs, and Washington is riding its current young stars to a run of success that mirrors the one it enjoyed under Arenas and Hughes.
Surprisingly, Wall and Beal aren't as statistically impressive as their predecessors. Take a look at how their current season measures up against Arenas and Hughes' best in 2004-05:
|Combined PPG||Combined RPG||Combined APG||Combined Win Shares||Average PER|
|Arenas and Hughes, 2004-05||47.5||11.0||9.8||19.2||21.5|
|Wall and Beal, 2013-14||36.4||7.8||12.1||11.9||16.9|
A decade has made it a little too easy to forget how good those guys once were.
Of course, today's Wizards are vastly different from the version of the club Arenas led. When Washington won 45 games in 2004-05, it did so on the strength of a top-10 offense and in spite of a pretty porous defense. Wall's Wizards are doing the opposite, ranking eighth in defensive efficiency while scraping by with the league's No. 17 offense, per Basketball-Reference.com.
Interestingly, this year's Wizards have a chance to equal a feat that hasn't happened since Arenas and Hughes teamed up nearly a decade ago. They can win a playoff series.
And in a fun coincidence, that series victory might come at the expense of the Chicago Bulls, the very team Arenas and Hughes eliminated back in 2005.
If Wall and Beal can give the Wizards a series win, they'll likely supplant Arenas and Hughes as Washington's most beloved backcourt. With a 2-0 series lead and the next two games at home, they're well on their way.