Following Saturday’s blowout loss to the Charlotte Bobcats, Wizards point guard Gilbert Arenas admitted that he doesn’t quite have the confidence to follow Flip Saunders’ instructions that he attack ealry and often, and that he doesn’t trust himself to be the gunner of old.
Flip Saunders after today’s practice agreed that confidence is the main problem with the gaurd. “He’s not confident right now. Everyone goes through it,” the coach said. But he also added that he expects Arenas to continue shooting and that he simply has to fight through and give his teammates a spark with his play because that is the role of the point guard in Saunders’ system.
“The greatest baseball hitter go through it, and right now it’s partly because there are a lot of factors involved,” Saunders said. “But it’s not going to stop him from shooting. It shouldn’t. he’s just got to understand it’s going to come at some point. … He’s going to have to give us a spark. We’re going to kid ourselves if we say that Gilbert can’t lead us, be a major player for us. He’s going to do that. It’s going to take time. We have to be patient. We have to work with him, maybe give him shorter stints on the floor and shorter stints on the bench, where he doesn’t have the ability to stiffen up a little bit and work with things.”
Arenas’ fellow captain Antawn Jamison — the leader of the Wizards — today said the soulution for Arenas is simple. Be patient, the forward said.
“I told him this, ‘You haven’t played basketball like this in a long time. First couple of weeks it went well, but it’s been a while since you’ve been a month into the season, 15 games,’ ” Jamison said. “It’s almost a learning curve. I don’t think he knew what to expect, I don’t think we knew what to expect. So the thing he has to do was be patient. And that’s what we have to do as a team. I know he’s not where he wanted to be and we’re not where we wanted to be. But you’ve got to be patient and keep plugging away. If the season was 15 games long, then you start panicking.
“But it’s going to come to you, just got to be patient,” Jamison continued. “Other guys like myself and Caron have to step up until he’s back in that rhythm. This guy hasn’t played 15 games like this, a month into the season like this. So it’s tough. It’s just going to take some more time before the Hibachi and all the other stuff gets going. But if I keep believing in my teammates and myself to get going, then things will get back to normal.”
Jamison said that he believes one of Arenas’ problem is that he’s thinking too much and listening too much to what is being said about his play. He said no one should tell the guard how to play, because only Arenas knows what he’s capable of and when he’s capable of doing it.
“That’s that guy. That’s like you guys telling me don’t shoot the whatever shots I do shoot. I can’t tell him how to play his game. That’s his game. I can’t tell him to be aggressive when he’s not there yet. I can’t tell him not to be aggressive when he’s there. … When you start listening, and ‘Oh, my girlfriend said I should do this, or media said I should do this, and my little son says, Daddy you should do this.’ That’s when you need to take your eye off the outside distractions, focus in and play your game. That’s what I tell him, ‘Don’t listen to me. Coach says this, don’t listen. You play your game. You do what has gotten you to this point. Now, if you can’t do that, then find a way to get close to it. I just think so much has been said as far as we need him to be aggressive and need him to set people up. Gil knew when to be aggressive, he knew when to set people up. It’s just like I said, he’s going to have to get back into the thick of things”