The Wizards just wrapped up media day and are in the process of heading down to Richmond, where tomorrow they’ll tip off training camp at VCU. I’ve got a boatload of soundbites to transcribe, so it’ll be a bit, but there were a few highlights.
A surly Gilbert Arenas talked, although he had to be coaxed to do so, but said “if there wasn’t a heavy fine coming, I probably wouldn’t have done this.” He was pretty tight-lipped, answered in short, stoic answers early on, but warmed up as the presser went on and talked for 29 minutes about his expectations for the season (just stay healthy and let the rest take care of itself), the offseason pickups (he likes them), the topic that never goes away of ‘The pure point guard.’ (his retort, before going on a 3-minute tear, “What is a pure point guard?”).
Arenas says there will be no more Agent Zero, no Hibachi this season. He said Gilbert Arenas the prankster is dead and gone as well. “I’m done being an entertainer. I just wanna play basketball.” While he’s playing that basketball, Arenas expects to cut out the 3-pointer a good deal. Arenas said all the attacking of the basket that he has been seen doing this offseason is more like what you can expect to see, and now he’ll be shooting for percentage. “The Princeton was designed for the 4’s and 3’s, I took a lot of wild shots and fastbreak 3’s. But since I have the ball all the time this year, I’m not gonna take 500 3’s, I’m trying to take less than 100. I’m not gonna be a 3-point shooter this year. I’ll work most of the year on midrange J’s. The deep shot’s still there if it comes to a game-winner. But I’m not going to be sitting there launching 3’s. I’m going to be shooting for percentage.”
Arenas called himself and Brendan Haywood the “blenders” on the team, and expects the rift that was between the veterans and young players last season to vanish.
Haywood, like Arenas, is in wait-and-see mode when it comes to predicting what the Wizards will do this season, saying they have the pieces to make some noise but both passed on making predictions until they get on the court together and start putting those pieces in place.
The entertainer of the day was DeShawn Stevenson who said he had no problem making a prediction on the season. “You’re talking to me, and you know me and Gil are kinda crazy, so I’ll say 50 wins this season.” When told of Arenas’ earlier comments that he was going serious this year because he has matured, Stevenson said with a laugh, “Well, Gil say one thing and do another. So we’ll see.”
Stevenson is again sporting his beard, but vows to “keep it clean for the Wizards.” He had a close cut, but had a rat-tail. He also is sporting new ink. On his right temple, along his hairline is etched LONDYN, his 1-year-old son’s name. On his left cheek bone is inked the Pitsburgh Pirate’s ‘P’, “for the Pittsburgh, that’s my favorite team. Barry Bonds, when he first started.” The thing about the P is, however, that it’s backwards and looks more like a 9. DeShawn tried to explain, “No, if you’re standing where Dom’s standing and looking at me, it looks like a P.” Dominic McGuire was standing directly in front of him about 10 yards away, but it still looked like a 9. I think DeShawn meant to say, “when I look in the mirror it looks like a P.” The final new tat is a crack on the left side of Stevenson’s forehead. He said it’s because “I don’t crack. I feel like people always try to break me, but I don’t crack. So, I put that there.”
Aaaah, It’s going to be a fun/crazy year….
A bunch more from Verizon Center coming later…