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.