Orlando Magic: 7 Ways To Get Gilbert Arenas More Involved on Offense
Gilbert Arenas had a hot hand before being traded to the Orlando Magic. He was averaging 17.3 points and 5.6 assists in about 36 minutes per game for the Washington Wizards prior to the mid-December trade.
Since his arrival it appears that Arenas' hot hand has cooled off considerably. For the Magic Arenas is averaging only 7.9 points and 4 assists in about 22 minutes per game. His three-point shooting has also dipped in terms of both production and efficiency as hits less than one three per game and now only hits the mark from behind the arch about once in every four shots. Even from the charity stripe Arenas has struggled in a Magic uniform and his free throw percentage is now below seventy percent.
Part of the reason for Gilbert Arenas' successful tenure with Washington at the beginning of the season could be attributed to John Wall's foot injury which allowed Arenas to play more minutes than he typically would have.
Conversely, his poor production in Orlando could be explained by the fact that Arenas is no longer the number one point or shooting guard in Orlando and comes in off the bench for both Jameer Nelson and Jason Richardson. It appears that Arenas' role has been reduced and his numbers have dropped consequently, so here are some ideas (some of them more rational than others) of how Orlando could get more offensive production out of the man once nicknamed Agent Zero and perhaps lead to Magic fans calling him Agent Hero.
Trade Jameer Nelson
Okay, so this is probably the least likely option. There is very little chance that the Magic will go and shop for a new home for their young, talented starting point guard in order to show Arenas some extra love, especially considering that Arenas is averaging less than eight points per game while Jameer Nelson is averaging over 12.
Despite its unlikelihood, this option would give Arenas more playing time which would likely lead to an increase in his offensive production. Arenas would likely have the opportunity to play more priority minutes as Orlando's starting point guard, while the Magic could get a much needed, extra big man (especially after trading away Marcin Gortat) in exchange for Nelson's talents.
I don't think this would be a wise move on behalf of the Magic, as they would lose Nelson's three-point shooting, quickness, and passing abilities. However, it would allow Orlando to milk some extra offensive production out of Arenas.
Make Gilbert Arenas The Starting Point Guard
Another fairly far fetched idea.
The likelihood of the Magic giving Gilbert Arenas the starting job is highly unlikely. Jameer Nelson was the starting point guard in Orlando before Arenas came along and he has served them well. He is a compact crafty passer, an above average shooter, and is a incendiary ball handler.
While Arenas would offer the Magic some quickness, some clean and crafty passing, and a little scoring from time to time he has done nothing to really earn the starting spot since his arrival. At the same time, it's hard to justify having a hefty contract like Arenas' coming into a game off of your bench.
Giving Arenas the starting job at point guard will allow him to play some extra minutes and to pump out some additional offensive production. Perhaps Arenas could thrive as the starter in Orlando? After all, while John Wall was injured, and he was the starting point guard in Washington, he put up some pretty impressive numbers.
Involve Him In More Efficient Roster Combinations
The Orlando Magic have a very talented and versatile offense on paper. Players like Hedo Turkoglu and Gilbert Arenas are qualified to play a variety of different positions. Arenas in particular is a converted point guard but originally began as a shooting guard which gives the Magic some flexibility on how they can incorporate him into the offense.
They should find what roster combinations work best for Arenas and incorporate them. Arenas brings a healthy dose of athleticism and scoring potential to the table every time he steps into the game. I think part of the reason that Arenas has struggled since coming to the Magic is because they haven't found the most effective ways to incorporate him into their offense.
Trade Jason Richardson
Jason Richardson is another guy who's production has declined since his arrival in Orlando. In Phoenix, Richardson scored in bunches putting up about 19 points per game. In a Magic uniform, he only puts up about 14 points per contest.
Despite his fallen numbers, Richardson has still put up some pretty impressive performances in Orlando. He's a great shooter from behind the arch but he can also provide some extra energy with dunks too. Richardson has done nothing deserving of a trade, especially considering he has already been traded once this season.
Moving Richardson would vacate the starting position at shooting guard, which Gilbert Arenas could potentially fill. Arenas played shooting guard in college and professional careers and is also capable of becoming a scorer and taking a high volume of shots, as he has had to do for Washington in the past. He would likely get more playing time at the shooting guard position which would consequently lead to additional offensive production from Arenas.
Make Gilbert Arenas The Starting Shooting Guard
As I explored previously in the slide pertaining to the Magic trading Jason Richardson, Gilbert Arenas is naturally fitted to play shooting guard. With both he and Jameer Nelson in the game at the one and two guards gives the Magic two passers and playmakers in the game at the same time.
Gilbert Arenas as the starter would likely consume more minutes, thus his production is bound to increase and he would naturally become more involved with Orlando's offense. Although it's not likely that the Magic will bench Richardson for Arenas anytime soon, especially considering Richardson shoots a much higher three-point percentage and scores more points per game than Arenas, it is still an option that they could consider if they were interested in getting Arenas some additional opportunities to produce.
Give Him More Minutes
It's quite simple. Just give him more time on the floor. Arenas has the potential to be a playmaker as he proved in his time with the Wizards. Most of these slides centered around ways to get Arenas on the floor more. He was averaging almost 35 minutes in Washington and is now averaging only about 22 minutes per game in Orlando which is a big reason that he is not putting up the same numbers kind of numbers he was earlier this season.
By giving Arenas more playing time, you are giving him more opportunities to contribute on the offensive end. Also, by giving him more game time it allows him to create in game chemistry with his teammates which could increase his assist numbers and find him additional ways to work with teammates and find more ways to score.
Not getting a lot of playing time is one of the reasons that Arenas' numbers are down, but when you consider his deteriorated three point and foul shooting numbers since getting to Orlando something else seems to be wrong, but perhaps just letting him play his way out of his funk will help improve his offensive output.
Give Him Some Time Off
Hey, the Los Angeles Clippers did this earlier this season with their point guard, Baron Davis, and it seemed to work for them so maybe it could work for the Magic here. After beginning the season very out of shape, Davis sat on the bench for the majority of the Clippers' games in November. After taking some time off to regain his athletic form, Davis came back rejuvenated and has since put up some much improved numbers.
I'm not implying that Arenas is out of shape, nor do I think that Orlando should give him an entire month off. However, I am saying that perhaps a little time off may serve him well, in order for him to to fine tune some of his skills and develop chemistry with his teammates during practices rather than in a game. Jameer Nelson held down the point guard position before Arenas came along this season and I am sure he could handle it if Arenas needed some time off.
Perhaps some time off could serve Arenas some good and rejuvenate him as it did for Davis and make him more of a factor in Orlando's offense.