Should Gilbert Arenas Have Played Last Night?

Over at Bullets Forever, Mike Prada asks whether the Wizards’ oft-injured superstar should have been the court last night.

On the one hand, watching the first half, it’s clear the Wizards needed him to facilitate the good ball movement that we saw then. Arenas did have eight assists, after all, and most of those came early. As soon as he went out of the game, DeShawn Stevenson ran the point, and it wasn’t pretty. From an injury standpoint as well, while you worry that he’s playing on a bad calf, Tim Grover was there, and I imagine any decision Gil made to play was with Grover’s blessing.

On the other hand — where was Gilbert in that entire second half? Some of the turnovers he committed were just silly plays. Mishandling a pass and losing it into the backcourt. Throwing a pass seven feet over Andray Blatche’s head. Etc. The other turnovers came because it just didn’t seem like he had enough burst to get to the rim. Remember the last time these two teams played, when Arenas was driving to the hoop and drawing fouls at will? When he drove tonight, he got stripped or turned it over trying to make a pass. That’s what happens sometimes when you play hurt.

The most concerning thing for me was how Arenas looked at the end of the game. He was passing off to other players instead of trying to take over. He stood around and looked … well … slow. Could he have put too much pressure on his calf? I don’t know, we’ll see going forward. But if the answer is yes, then I question his decision to play. The Wizards were going to have trouble winning in Miami regardless, and it’s only November. As KD wrote, heroes aren’t made in November.

Is that being too results-oriented? Probably. It’s also true that the Wizards have several days off before their game against Detroit, and then another several days off after that. But with so many other guys out too, you have to keep one eye on the long haul. Hopefully, Arenas will be fine going forward.

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