- The Washington Times - Monday, November 3, 2003

The conversation didn’t last long, but Washington Wizards coach Eddie Jordan got his point across to point guard Gilbert Arenas.

“He just told me that he wants me to be me; I know how to do that,” Arenas said following the team’s loss Saturday to New Jersey that dropped it to 1-2. “I didn’t know what he wanted from me but I have a clear understanding now.”

Arenas, more than anyone else on the team, has to know what each player will do on the court. He has to know his teammates’ tendencies and initiate the offense accordingly. And yet, Arenas, a potentially explosive scorer with a shoot-first mentality, must find the comfort zone where he can get his offensive game rolling.

It’s still early in the season and Arenas admits he still is searching for answers. He doesn’t need to be reminded he is unfamiliar with the system and averaging five turnovers a game this season. He brings it up himself. But he is quick to point out the mistakes will be eradicated soon.

“I’m turning the ball over way too much and a lot of that is miscommunication,” Arenas said. “I’m thinking the guy’s in the post and he’s going to stay there. The next thing you know he’s cutting back door and I’m throwing the ball to where I thought he was going to be.

“Really, it’s just basic basketball that you have to get a feel for. It will come in time. We’ll cut our turnovers and soon everybody will know what everybody’s doing.”

Saturday Arenas got a first-hand look at how the offense is supposed to be run in the Wizards’ 98-85 loss to New Jersey in their home opener.

Jason Kidd, who for all intents and purposes learned the Nets’ offense from former New Jersey assistant Jordan, made all the right decisions while running virtually the same system. Kidd is so comfortable with the offense that he probably could run it blindfolded.

Kidd showed a healthy balance of scoring and playmaking Saturday as he had 30 points, nine assists and five rebounds. Unlike Arenas, Kidd doesn’t have to think through the offense to execute it — it’s second nature. And Nets coach Byron Scott is so comfortable with Kidd running the offense that he had no problem with Kidd shooting 23 times — two more shots than Arenas got off in his last two games combined. The Nets’ point guard hoisted an uncharacteristic eight 3-point attempts.

“You can’t compare the two teams because they have an All-Star point guard who knows the system and everyone else knows it,” Arenas said. “We’re just trying to get the nicks and knacks down.”

Kidd may be from the pass-first school of guard play, but Arenas — a better jump-shooter — still has a shoot-first mentality. However, Arenas admits he has been less aggressive in looking for his shot so that he can get his teammates comfortable with their roles on the floor.

“It’s hard for me because I’m trying to get everyone involved in the offense without looking for my shot,” said Arenas, who hit one of six shots from behind the 3-point line Saturday. “At the same time I have to be aggressive in looking for my shot.”

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