With a 3-9 record on the season, the fires are already beginning to rage within the Washington Wizards locker room.
“I think the only person who actually had to sacrifice was me. Everybody else can just play their game…”
“That’s what I’m averaging. About 18 shots,” Arenas said. “Before, I would’ve taken 27 shots on a night like this to keep us in the game. But I’m not trying to revert to that. Before, I’d look at Eddie and he’d say, take over the game. But I’ve got trust in these guys that eventually Randy’s going to start hitting shots. He’s coming off of injury. That Caron’s going to start catching and shooting, that we’ll start getting production out of Dray again. But it’s only so many nights, so many games before I’m going to have to start doing what I do…”
“Hidden agendas,” he said. “You can’t win like that. I have no idea why. I’ve never been on a team where you have eight free agents next year. I’ve never played on a team like that. I’ve never seen it turn out well. Sometimes it works out for the best because everybody’s hungry and everybody’s fighting. Sometimes it works out for the worst when everybody’s out for their own.”
As much as we revere Arenas’ candor and appreciate his removal of his self-imposed gag order, it’s unfortunate that the first notable thing out of his mouth without wielding a belt is absolute garbage.
Countless stories have been authored regarding the team’s commitment to success for this season and the few to come, during which the Wizards can legitimately contend for an Eastern Conference title.
And yet, Arenas is the one who has made the sacrifices? The only one?
Don’t bother asking questions anymore about why Arenas values controversy, because it’s clear that in his mind, he’s The Answer.
He’s the answer to making the Wiz popular and relevant, he’s the answer to scoring woes, and he’s the answer to resolving the personal issues off the court that are clearly causing him turmoil on it.
Unfortunately, the obvious answer to some isn’t the right answer for all.
Your first inclination in hearing things going so wrong so soon for the Wizards is to blow it up. You can’t ship Arenas, but there may be some value in moving Butler or Jamison to a playoff contender.
Perhaps the Wizards will only be well-suited in creating a situation around Arenas similar to the one in Philadelphia with Iverson: Happy-to-be-here role players rebounding and defending to conserve energy for Arenas’ scoring fancy.
Nobody wants that, but the numbers and the emerging attitudes seem to call for it. The biggest question is how long it will take to make it an unfortunate reality.
The easy answer—and the best one—is sooner rather than later.