It's the day of the Wizards first game this season, so it's as good a time as ever for some people to revisit the question of whether this can really be "John Wall's team" with the horrible, awful Black Plague known as Gilbert Arenas still on the roster. (Don't take the last part of that last sentence literally). Because anytime you can beat a dead horse into the ground, revive it, have it die again and then commence beating, you do it.
Today in the Washington Examiner, Rick Snider says this is never going to be Wall's "team" as long as Agent Wackypants is around.
The Wizards can pretend Wall is their centerpiece and hang all the banners they want from Chinatown to Chantilly, but Arenas is that person who's the center of any party.
This will be Arenas' team until he finally does something that forces owner Ted Leonsis to eat the contract and send the guard away. Whether that's this season or next, the day is coming.
And in today's Washington Post, Michael Lee explores the issue some more. Somehow, it's a burning question whose "team" it is.
Look, the answer is simple: it's John Wall's team. He is the point guard. He is the number one draft pick. He is the cornerstone of a very transparent rebuilding effort. He is already a leader. He is the guy who is responsible for getting everyone else the ball. He is amazing enough as a person to accept all of that and handle it well no matter what. I'm amazed that this is even a question.
Will Arenas hog a lot of media attention? Of course, whether he wants to or not. Will he be the leading scorer if he plays? Yeah, probably. Will he accept a "sidekick" role for the long haul? Maybe, maybe not. But regardless, it doesn't matter. The Wizards will go as John Wall goes, not as Gilbert Arenas goes. That's what happens when you're the number one pick on a young team.
Bottom line: one does not determine the leader of a team by salary, experience, media attention or anything like that. It's determined by attitude, usage, confidence, trust and leadership. Last I checked, Wall's defining characteristic was his leadership ability. Last I checked, he was playing the most minutes and having the ball in his hands all the time in the preseason. Last I checked, his head coach couldn't stop gushing over him. That makes this his team, with Arenas occupying some role between an entertaining sideshow and a non-entity.
Arenas may distract the media, but he's not the guy in charge anymore. This team will have many problems, but sorting out who it belongs to is not one of them.