The Wizards today are holding exit interviews, but Gilbert Arenas did his talking last night following his team’s loss to Boston.
I could do a bunch of translating, but Gilbert Arenas is always at his best in his own words, so let’s let fly. …
On his expectations for his play next season: “To be honest, I want to lead the league in triple-doubles next season. I’m not gonna go out there and try to score 30. We have enough scorers on this team and I can dominate the game in other ways.”
Arenas said he thinks Flip Saunders can definitely help the Wizards, and did his best to dispel the belief that he and the new coach could clash, given the laid-back Saunder’s reported struggles with another eccentric player in Rasheed Wallace.
“I think it’s going to be great. Everybody’s going to respond. He’s coming into a great situation. We are a playoff team. We showed it when we had the team back, what we did to Cleveland. He’s coming into a great situation. There are no head cases. I know everyone thinks I’m gonna be this big head case, but I don’t fight with anybody, I don’t fight with the coaches. I don’t say anything, just in the media. I’m just the hype man.
“It’s all smoke and mirrors with me. Everyone looks at what I say from my blog and everyone thinks I’m this big headcase. I was watching Tony Kornheiser, and this interview with this lady and I’m just sitting there laughing because I’m like, wow, I can understand you attack the player, but don’t attack my character, because that’s not the person I am. I’ve never fought a player, never fist fight or argued. Never actually argued with a coach, that’s just not me. I’m quiet, I work out real hard, and I just hype up games. That’s what I am, I’m the hype man. I’m not the problem in the locker room.
“If that’s going to be our coach, he’s got a great sense. He’s a very great X and O’s guy coming out of timeouts. He’s very offensive. I remember running against some of his plays with Troy Hudson and all of those guys, and they all succeeded. If those are the offensive plays we’re running, I should be in the league in top assists.
“Next year, I’m trying to turn into a real point guard. Since, we didn’t have a legit [shooting] guard, I took on the scoring mentality, especially in Eddie’s system. Eddie’s system was just two guard, two forwards and a center, it wasn’t really no point guard, and no [shooting guard]. So, when Larry [Hughes] left, I was the only scorer at the guard position so I took that over the scoring position and [DeShawn Stevenson] took over the shooting and the passing. So, now we’re coming into a regular system when I’m going to be the point guard, it’s the my chance to really manage the team for the first time in my career.
“I averaged 10 assists in high school, in college I was a [shooting] guard, at Golden State they gave me the ball and that was my best assists year. In Eddie’s system I was just a guard, so I scored. It was like one night I was the point guard, the next night Larry was the point guard. Then when D-Steve and Jarred [Jeffries] were here, I was the point and they were the floater. Now, [Flip] is going to put the ball in my hands and just let me run the team.”
Arenas said he believes winning – and him playing – will repair his image and silence his critics, because he doesn’t believe what he views as misconceptions started until he got hurt.
“When I was playing, there was no problem. For the last two years I’ve been hurt and suddenly I’m uncoacheable. How can I be uncoacheable when I haven’t played? That’s kinda funny, though. So, I just can’t wait until training camp comes around and then see what everybody has to say then.”
And in one last parting shot to his critics, Arenas took another chance to make the argument that he isn’t a headcase or unmanageable player.
“Since we’re talking last year, Eddie was never caught off guard by anything. He knew everything that was going on. I can say that. The day I came out against Milwaukee, he knew what was going on, he told me what time to come out. It’s a business, I mean, it’s what we do. I’m a controlled chaos. I’m controlled chaos. That’s what it is with me. The only thing I ever did that Eddie didn’t know I was gonna do was the trampoline dunk, and that was just spur of the moment because Shaq dared me. But I’m just a controlled chaos. It’s all planned with me.”