So we know that Agent Zero is going to be out of commission for a little while. We also know that in times like this, Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison will step up their game and help keep the team afloat in his absence. We also know that as good as they are, that they won't be able to keep the team afloat by themselves, which leads to this week's question: What player, other that Caron and Antawn, has to step up their game the most while Gilbert is out? Here are your choices...
- Antonio Daniels - AD is no stranger to filling the void at point guard when Arenas is out, but at 33, he's not getting any younger and he started more games last season than he has at any point in his NBA career. Can he stay healthy enough to stay on the court and efficiently run the offense?
- Dee Brown - Brown gives the Wizards an asset they didn't have last year when they were depleted by injuries: a 2nd point guard. His presence should help keep the Daniels' minutes down, and give the team someone to run the offense with the bench players. But Dee has very little NBA experience, can he do enough to earn the coaches' trust and get on the court?
- DeShawn Stevenson - After falling through the basement when Gilbert went down in '06, DeShawn made major strides in his game over the summer so that the same problem wouldn't occur again when he got the injury bug made a return visit. Can he take it to another level this season?
- Nick Young - In his rookie year, Young only showed proficiency in one area, but it's the same area that's hurt the most by Gilbert's absence: scoring. Nick has shown that he can fill it up, but he's hasn't shown that he can do so effectively within the flow of the offense, and his passing and defense leave a lot to desire. But many players make their biggest jumps between their first and second year. Can Young do the same (and get a SDC invite while he's at it)?
- Dominic McGuire - If Caron is going to be able to survive the new load on his shoulders, he's going to need some help from his backup. Enter Dominic McGuire. Can he take the next step in becoming the defensive stopper that he was drafted to be and play competently enough to give Butler a breather now and then?
Andray Blatche - As someone that can fill in at 3 spots, Blatche's versatility will be a major asset to a team that needs all the assets it can get with their biggest one on the shelf. But as we all know, Andray has shown less consistency than the average child's sleep pattern.. Will he be able to finally work out his inconsistencies and be someone that the team can rely on?
Darius Songaila - As the season went on, Songaila got better and better as he recovered from an off-season playing with Lithuania. Considering that he didn't play in the Olympics this season, that should mean that he won't slump at the start of the season. Will that translate into a much needed boost off of the bench early in the season?
Brendan Haywood - Voted last year's Most Improved Wizard, Haywood's growth was a major part of why the Wizards were able to be as successful as they were last season with all their injuries. Can he step it up again to keep the Wizards afloat?
- Etan Thomas - He has nowhere to go but up after last year, right?
As always, the choice is yours. Just remember, Larry Bird is not walking through that door, fans.