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By now most of our readers are probably already aware that Chris Wallace, the Grizzlies VP of Basketball Operations, credited a blog with helping to bring Gilbert Arenas to the Grizzlies on Chris Vernon’s radio show. It was 3 Shades Of Blue or more accurately a blog by Lee Eric Smith that convinced Wallace to take another look and the rest is history.

But history hasn’t been written yet. That won’t happen until Arenas takes the court and shows what is left in his body and, more importantly, his surgically repaired knee. Arenas hasn’t played since last season in the NBA. Since then he has had a controversial treatment called Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy on both knees and hips. He’s played basketball with anyone willing from teenagers to 50-year-old men. He lost a lot of weight. He also spent a lot of time coming to grips with who he is and not who he was perceived to be.

As Memphis awaits to see what the new and improved Gilbert Arenas really is, we felt it was the right time to ask 3 questions of 3 ESPN TrueHoop bloggers, our very own Lee Eric Smith, J. M. Poulard from Warriors World and Kyle Weidie from The Truth About It, a Washington Wizards blog.

Without Further ado, here are the questions and answers.

3SOB: Arenas had the platelet rich plasma therapy procedure done on his knees and hips. Do you believe this is real science or just a placebo effect?
J. M. Poulard: 
Although it could legitimately have helped him, Gilbert Arenas’ quirky behavior throughout his NBA career would lead you to believe that the therapy helped appease some of his concerns more so than it did any good to him physically.
Lee Eric Smith: I’m gonna go with real medicine. It’s worked for Kobe. Let’s not overlook that he’s lost weight, which is always good for knees. As long as Agent X (X = Roman numeral 10, Gil’s new number…get it?) is feeling spry, that’s what we want, right?
Kyle Weidie: 
If Kobe Bryant and Alex Rodriguez are doing it, why not? I mean, the guy who developed the treatment, Dr. Peter Wehling, is a former physician for the Pope (for Hail Mary-ing out loud). Now, will it work on Arenas’ knee? Who knows. Gilbert has been guilty in the past, within the couple of years following his initial knee injury in April 2007, of over-rehabbing, which caused unknown amounts of set-backs. Good news is, he’s a hard worker. He also often works with fancy-pants Michael Jordan trainer, Tim Grover. Arenas has the best doctors an amnestied contract can buy; so, I wouldn’t worry about his physical shape, it’s his mental condition (mostly basketball confidence-wise) that should spark curious concern.

3SOB: What does Arenas bring to the Grizzlies that they didn’t have already?

JMP: An experienced player that can play both guard positions and help alleviate some pressure defense from opponents. I wouldn’t bank on him being an efficient scorer or shooter with the ball at this point though.
LES: Instant offense off the bench. That’s supposed to be Juice’s role, but you can’t count on him for it every night — Darrell Arthur was better in that role than OJ was last season. Also, 3 point shooting. If Agent X can deliver those at even a third of what he used to, it’ll be HUGE for the Grizz. If he’s even better than that, we may have a mini-dynasty.
KW: Arenas is going to bring veteran basketball experience, and the ability to joke around with his teammates. His past reputation of being an offensive gunner was never entirely true; it was more of a result of Eddie Jordan’s fast-paced, pro-style Princeton offense which predicate that he shoot so much. Arenas a smart player, and has been obsessive about studying the game. He certainly has the ability to manage an offense — depending on what the Grizzlies are asking him to do — better than any other guard on Memphis’ roster outside of Mike Conley, and perhaps more so than Conley.

3SOB: How dangerous is it to bring back Zach Randolph and add Gilbert Arenas to a team that was playing some of their best basketball of the season at the time?

JMP: So O.J. Mayo and Tony Allen once fought on the plane over a card game, Zach Randolph exhibited questionable judgment in Portland and Arenas had a multitude of issues of his own that (yes, plenty of them) that scared off his teams as well as the rest of the league. So let me answer the question with a question: why would anyone think brining him in the Grizzlies’ locker room was a good idea?
LES:  I see it as the flip side of losing Rudy & Zach to injury. The team identity changed, players adapted. Now, the team is adding two potent scorers into the lineup. Hollins & the team have managed to adapt before; I expect that after a few hiccups (like SAC), the team will find its mojo and will be humming inside two weeks. Will it be dangerous? For the rest of the league, yeah!
KW: I’m betting Arenas will be just fine. For one, he realizes this could be his last chance. Two, he always felt like the Washington locker room was his free domain; thus, there were pranks galore and an environment where Eddie Jordan felt under-minded by team management in his ability to discipline Arenas’ antics. With Javaris Crittenton, it seems to be the case where a Bourré card game went bad (I hear y’all have those in Memphis too) and Arenas, an immature-natured prankster, didn’t quite know who he was messing with. Remember: Arenas’ guns didn’t have bullets, Crittenton’s allegedly did (although the contrary said so in court documents). Also, Crittenton, this past summer, was charged with an alleged drive-by murder, and has been out on bail and still getting into trouble with the law. When it comes to Zach Randolph, I think Arenas especially knows not to mess with him… just ask James Beasley.

3 Shades of Blue thanks both Kyle and J. M. for their time (we expect it from Lee). If anyone wants to ask any of our panelists a question about Gilbert Arenas please leave it in the comments section and we will try to get you the answer.

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12 Responses to Arenas: 3 Questions and 3 Answers

  1. GrizRebNo Gravatar says:

    When do we expect Agent X to take the floor? Last I heard it might be tonight versus Portland. Also, how many minutes do you think coach will give him?

  2. Chip CrainNo Gravatar says:

    Arenas worked out with the team yesterday and will likely see the court at some point tonight.

  3. white mikeNo Gravatar says:

    Let’s leave all bad thoughts alone an pose hypothetical ?’S. If Gilbert comes in an adds 7-13pts. A game, do u think we keep him? If so what do you think about us being able 2 keep oj?

  4. Eli kirschNo Gravatar says:

    Can Memphis make a run at the NBA Finals with Arenas on their bench and adding more depth to their roster.

  5. Lee Eric SmithNo Gravatar says:

    Mike:

    I think a successful run in Memphis for Arenas would be a minimum of 15-18 minutes a night, a reliable 12-16 points per game (including at least 2 3-pointers), 4-5 assists per game . . . plus the occasional offensive explosion when he goes off for 30, or nails like 6 3-pointers. If he does that, I think he stays in Memphis.

    And it’s just a hunch, but I think that Agent X will also have a sneaky way of stabilizing the second unit — getting even more effective play out of Mareese, Dante, Q & Juice. If he does that, in addition to the above, he’s golden.

    If he EXCELS way beyond those benchmarks — 18 ppg, 6 apg, 3-4 3pt/night, he’s platinum. I also think that kind of performance renders O.J. expendable. Which brings us to your second question.

    I’ve long said that I didn’t think O.J. would be traded because the kind of player we’d want in return would need to be a clear upgrade — in other words, we’d be asking another team to give up a player that’s better than O.J. If Arenas performs at even the low end of what he’s capable of, then we may have found that clear upgrade . . . and a cheaper one to boot.

    Aside from the basketball reasons, this signing is a financial work of art. We get to get a max-contract player for only $300K. Arenas will be paid the same money wherever he chooses to sign after this season, meaning money won’t be a factor in his choice. If he succeeds, and the fans love him for it, my money is that he’ll want to come back to Memphis — and Memphis will again oblige by offering him a minimum contract. Getting that good a player for that cheap is golden when it comes to cap space. It makes resigning some combination of Mareese, Dante, Darrell & Quincy more likely.

    It also means O.J. will likely suit up elsewhere next season.

  6. Lee Eric SmithNo Gravatar says:

    Eli:

    I think the Grizz are a real threat to go to the Finals. They’re just as deep, disciplined and talented as any of the favorites (OKC, SA, LAL). Whether or not it happens will depend on two things: Home court & how good of a road team the Grizz can become. Assuming the Grizz make it to the second round, I’m guessing they’ll need to be able to win two games on the road in each successive round to advance further. That’ll be tough against teams like the Lakers, Spurs and especially the Thunder.

    But if the Arenas Experience goes like I think it will, it’s doable. As far as depth, I think we’re pretty deep and versatile as is. I wish Hamed were just a tad more effective offensively & defensively, but the roster is hungry, versatile and they play hard every night. Should be a fun postseason in the Bluff City.

  7. presidentjoeNo Gravatar says:

    I agree this signing makes oj even more expendable especially considering oj is shooting so poorly. Stiil think they should revisit my earlier trade for this summer: oj for m. Beasely. Beasely would be a clear upgrade to either Speights or Dante at the 3 or 4. Both oj and mb will be traded this summer. Why not for each other.

  8. AlexNo Gravatar says:

    I find it fascinating how the outsider (the warriors blogger) is so pessimistic about Arenas, and the guy who covered him in Washington says he’ll be fine.

    It just goes to show you need to be careful who you listen to. Most sports commentators/bloggers only actually know what the rest of the world already knows. They’re just speaking they’re opinion, which in reality is no better than your own. Listen to the guys who are actually around and follow these teams.

  9. JoelNo Gravatar says:

    I agree with Alex 100%, who knows arenas better? Someone who saw him up close on a consistant basis? Or a fan who watched him on tv every once in a while? I also kind of get the feeling people dont want to see the Griz find another diamond in the rough, like we have with Z-BO and to some degree with Mo Speights. That has to bug fans of other teams that we get players with bad reps and then all of a sudden they start playing with a Grit and Grind mentality

  10. GrizRebNo Gravatar says:

    Thats because they aren’t familiar with the gate keeper (Hollins) and the mascot/heart of the team (TA). They won’t let Agent X disrupt the team chemistry. I don’t want to leave out Zbo and Big Spain, they both have earned their keep on this team and in the league and are highly respected by their peers.

  11. Becky SmithNo Gravatar says:

    Dr. Robert LaPrade of The Steadman Clinic, who recently led an international PRP/Biologic Treatment symposium in Vail, offers an interesting perspective on PRP therapy here: http://drrobertlaprademd.com/kobe-bryant-high-level-athletes-benefit-from-prp-therapy-biologic-treatments-for-sports-injuries.

  12. [...] is left of his NBA career. Add all of those up and you get a low-risk, high-reward play that makes the Gilbert Arenas signing last year look tame in [...]

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