- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 18, 2006

Washington Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas, who recently completed the finest statistical season of his career, was named yesterday to the All-NBA third team for the second straight year.

Arenas, who in February also made his second consecutive All-Star appearance, became the franchise’s first player to be selected to the team in back-to-back seasons since Elvin Hayes was honored five consecutive years from 1973 to 1977.

“I am very excited,” the 24-year-old Arenas said in a statement released by the team. “It’s a thrill to be mentioned with the names of the great players that made the team this year, and I’m very proud to be talked about in the same breath as some of the franchise’s all-time legends. Being selected to the All-NBA team is a tribute to the hard work and support of my teammates, as well as our coaches and staff throughout the season. Individual awards are a reflection of the effort of the whole team.”

Arenas this season averaged a career-high 29.3 points per game, along with 6.1 assists and 2.0 steals. He finished the year as the NBA’s fourth-leading scorer. Arenas’ scoring average ranks second in franchise history to the 31.6 Walt Bellamy notched during the 1961-62 season. Arenas scored at least 30 points in 42 of his 80 games, and his 11 games with 40-plus points this season ranked him third in the league.

A three-time Eastern Conference Player of the Week, Arenas also finished among the league leaders in 3-point field goals made (second), minutes a game (third), free throws made (third), steals a game (fourth) and assists a game (18th), and with Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison, Arenas was a part of the NBA’s highest scoring trio of teammates (67.4 ppg).

Arenas helped guide the Wizards to the playoffs for the second consecutive season. Washington finished with the Eastern Conference’s fifth-best record and second place in the Southeast Division.

“We’re very proud of Gilbert’s great accomplishment,” Washington Wizards president of basketball operations Ernie Grunfeld said. “Through hard work and dedication, Gilbert has grown into an elite player in this league. He is a tremendous competitor and this great honor is a testament to his hard work and the effort of the entire team this season.”

Said coach Eddie Jordan: “This is a well-deserved honor for Gilbert. It is great to see Gilbert recognized among the elite players in the game. Gilbert has worked very hard to improve his overall game and he has matured into a complete player.”

Arenas was one of 15 players to make one of the three All-NBA teams. The Los Angeles Lakers’ Kobe Bryant, Phoenix’s Steve Nash, Cleveland’s LeBron James, Dallas’ Dirk Nowitzki and Miami’s Shaquille O’Neal made up the first team. The second team includes Chauncey Billups and Ben Wallace of Detroit, the Heat’s Dwyane Wade, the Los Angeles Clippers’ Elton Brand and San Antonio’s Tim Duncan. Arenas is joined by Philadelphia’s Allen Iverson, Denver’s Carmelo Anthony, the Suns’ Shawn Marion and Houston’s Yao Ming on the third team.

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