- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 8, 2005

Larry Hughes averaged 18 shots last season for the Washington Wizards. Now that one-third of the Big Three starts for Cleveland, logic dictates the other two should see more opportunities to score.

Better yet, Gilbert Arenas or Antawn Jamison could get a chance to lead the league in scoring — something no Washington player has accomplished.

Arenas, however, doesn’t want any part of it.

“Nope. I’m not interested in that one bit,” said Arenas, who ranks ninth in the league in scoring at 26.0 three games into the season. “I’m trying to win games.”

Not that the idea of a scoring title didn’t cross his mind.

“When I first thought about it, I was like, you know, it’s easy for me to win it,” Arenas said. “But I don’t need to. I can just do what I did the other night and maybe just bump it up a little bit. As long as we’re winning games, I’m not trying to score 38 points a game.”

That kind of statement is a byproduct of the on-court maturation of Arenas, who concedes he was immature when he entered the league at age 19 following his sophomore season at Arizona.

His newfound wisdom was on display over the weekend in Washington’s victory over Orlando in its home opener.

Below the free throw line and off to the right of the basket, Arenas noticed Jamison actually had a better look at the basket from the same distance. So when an Orlando defender ran out to attempt what he no doubt thought would be a shot, Arenas passed the ball to Jamison, who scored easily.

Jamison, meanwhile, knows the allure of putting up numbers. After all, he had back-to-back 51-point performances during the 2000-01 season while playing for Golden State. That season Jamison averaged 24.9 points, the best average of his career, though the Warriors finished with just 17 wins and in the Pacific Division basement.

Conversely, Jamison averaged 19.6 points in 2004-05 and earned his first All-Star Game appearance in his seventh season in the league. He also played a crucial role in guiding the Wizards to the second round of the playoffs for the first time in 23 seasons.

Jamison was a member of the Warriors when they drafted Arenas in the second round, and this is his fourth full season playing with him. He has no doubt that Arenas, who finished seventh in the league in scoring last season (25.5), could challenge for the scoring title, which last year went to Philadelphia’s Allen Iverson at 30.7.

“If he wants to, yes,” Jamison said. “But I don’t think he’s trying to. A few years ago he might have thought that was a big thing to do. But he sees the overall picture. He understands that what we accomplished last year was a good thing and it felt good. And I know that having that feeling is something he wants to feel again.”

Arenas knows getting others involved in the offense will help the Wizards, who are significantly deeper this year than last. As a captain, he also knows his job is to help new players like Antonio Daniels and Caron Butler make the transition as quickly as possible.

And Daniels already has taken notice.

“We know they are our top guns and we have to do our job to make sure they get the ball,” he said. “But they know that when opportunities pop up, we are going to take advantage of them.”

Notes — Daniels (sprained ankle) did not practice yesterday and is listed as day-to-day. Butler, who missed the last two games with a thigh contusion, also is day-to-day.

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