Is Gilbert Arenas the best Guard in Wizards team history?

Wizards fans are excited about the upcoming season. The John Wall era is beginning. Gilbert Arenas should be healthy. And the pair could form an incredibly exciting and talented backcourt. So I began to wonder, who is the best guard in Wizards history?

The question is often difficult to answer as rule changes, NBA expansion and physically bigger/faster players are just three factors that making it nearly impossible to make true player comparisons across eras. Understanding the imperfect nature of this exercise, we will proceed with trying to determine who is the best Guard that has played for the Wizards franchise.

In order to help level the playing field, we established a list of criteria that each player had to meet before they were considered. All the players listed below have all played in the shot clock era. It does not matter if they are a point guard or a shooting guard as long as their primary position was listed as guard. During his career with the franchise, the player has to have played a minimum of 10,000 minutes, which is roughly the equivalent of 80 games per year at 40 mpg for three seasons. The last criteria was that the player had to score a minimum of 5,000 points during his career with the franchise. It is also important to mention that the players' statistics with other teams were not included.

So with the help of our friends at Basketball-Reference.com we were able to determine that there are eight Wizards players who meet this criteria. And in alphabetical order they are: Gilbert Arenas, Calbert Cheaney, Phil Chenier, Kevin Grevey, Kevin Loughery, Jeff Malone, Earl Monroe and Mike Riordan.

First a little about each player:

Gilbert Arenas

6-4 215 lbs Los Angeles native played college basketball for the University of Arizona. In 2001, Arenas was drafted in the second round by the Golden State Warriors. Arenas signed with the Wizards as a free agent in 2003.

Career highlights with the franchise:

  • Games played - 323

  • Minutes played - 13,323 (39.7 MPG)

  • Career averages - 25.5 PPG, 5.7 APG and 4.3 RPG

  • Playoff appearances - Four (2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008*)

  • All-Star appearances - Three (2005, 2006 and 2007)

  • Honors - 2004/5 All-NBA (third team), 2005/6 All-NBA (third team) and 2006/7 All-NBA (second team)

  • Significant teammates - Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison

*Gilbert Arenas missed much of the 2007/8 season due to injury and managed to play in 13 regular season games and four games in the playoffs.

Calbert Cheaney

6-7 209 lbs Evansville, IN native played college basketball for Indiana University. Cheaney was drafted by the Bullets with the sixth pick in the first round of the 1993 NBA draft.

Career highlights with the franchise:

  • Games played - 424

  • Minutes played - 13,097 (30.9 MPG)

  • Career averages - 12.7 PPG, 1.9 APG and 3.5 RPG

  • Playoff appearances - One (1997)

  • Significant teammates - Juwan Howard & Rod Strickland

Phil Chenier

6-3 180 lbs Berkeley, CA native played college basketball for the University of California. Chenier was selected by the franchise (Baltimore Bullets) as the fourth overall pick in the 1971 NBA draft.

Career highlights with the franchise:

  • Games played - 546

  • Minutes played - 18,654 (34.2MPG)

  • Career averages - 17.9 PPG, 3.1 APG and 3.7 RPG

  • Playoff appearances - Seven (1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977 and 1979)

  • Finals appearances - Two (1975 & 1979)

  • Championships - 1978*

  • All-Star appearances - Three (1974, 1975 and 1977)

  • Honors - 1971/2 NBA All-Rookie (1st team) and 1974/5 All-NBA (2nd team)

  • Significant teammates - Dave Bing, Bob Dandridge, Elvin Hayes, Gus Johnson, Kevin Loughery, Earl Monroe, Mike Riordan & Wes Unseld

*Phil Chenier played 36 games during the 1977/8 season and due to injury he did not play in the playoffs which ended with the Bullets winning the NBA Championship.

Kevin Grevey

6-5 210 lbs Hamilton, OH native played college basketball at the University of Kentucky. The Washington Bullets selected Greevey with the 18th pick of the first round in the 1975 NBA draft.

Career highlights with the franchise:

  • Games played - 530

  • Minutes played - 13,141 (24.8 MPG)

  • Career averages - 12.2 PPG, 2.0 APG and 2.7 RPG

  • Playoff appearances - Six (1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980 and 1982)

  • Finals appearances - Two (1978 & 1979)

  • Championships - 1978

  • Significant teammates - Dave Bing, Bob Dandridge, Phil Chenier, Elvin Hayes, Mike Riordan & Wes Unseld

Kevin Loughery

6-3 190 lbs Brooklyn, NY native played college basketball for St. John's University. Loughery was selected in the 2nd round of the 1962 NBA draft by the Detroit Pistons. The Baltimore Bullets acquired Kevin Loughery from the Pistons in a trade for Larry Staverman in 1963.

Career highlights with the franchise:

  • Games played - 591

  • Minutes played - 18,677 (31.6 MPG)

  • Career averages - 16.64 PPG, 4.0 APG and 3.14 RPG

  • Playoff appearances - Five (1965, 1966, 1969, 1970 and 1971)

  • Finals appearances - One (1971)

  • Significant teammates - Walt Bellamy, Gus Johnson, Bob Dandridge, Gus Johnson, Earl Monroe & Wes Unseld

Jeff Malone

6-4 205 lbs Mobile, AL native played college basketball for Mississippi State University. Malone was drafted by the Washington Bullets with the 10th pick of the 1983 NBA draft.

Career highlights with the franchise:

  • Games played - 548

  • Minutes played - 17,984 (32.8 MPG)

  • Career averages - 20.2 PPG, 2.8 APG and 2.7 RPG

  • Playoff appearances - Five (1984, 1985, 1986, 1987 and 1988)

  • All-Star appearances - Two (1986 and 1987)

  • Honors - 1983/4 NBA All-Rookie (1st team)

  • Significant teammates - Bernard King, Rick Mahorn, Moses Malone, Cliff Robinson & John Williams

Earl Monroe

6-3 185 lbs Philadelphia native played college basketball for Winston-Salem State University. Monroe was drafted by the Baltimore Bullets with the 2nd pick in the 1967 NBA draft.

Career highlights with the franchise:

  • Games played - 328

  • Minutes played - 12,084 (36.8 MPG)

  • Career averages - 23.7 PPG, 4.6 APG and 3.7 RPG

  • Playoff appearances - Three (1969, 1970 and 1971)

  • Finals appearances - One (1971)

  • All-Star appearances - Two (1969 and 1971)

  • Honors - 1967/8 NBA Rookie of the Year, 1967/8 NBA All-Rookie (first team) and 1968/9 All-NBA (firstteam)

  • Significant teammates - Dave Bing, Bob Dandridge, Elvin Hayes, Gus Johnson, Kevin Loughery, Mike Riordan & Wes Unseld

Mike Riordan

6-4 200 lbs New York native played college basketball for Providence College. Riordan was drafted by the New York Knicks in the 12th round of the 1967 NBA draft. The Baltimore Bullets acquired Riordan (and Dave Stallworth and cash) from the Knicks for Earl Monroe in 1971.

Career highlights with the franchise:

  • Games played - 418

  • Minutes played - 12,463 (29.8 MPG)

  • Career averages - 12.4 PPG and 3.4 RPG

  • Playoff appearances - Six (1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976 and 1977)

  • Finals appearances - One (1975)

  • Honors - 1972/3 NBA All-Defensive (second team)

  • Significant teammates - Phil Chenier, Kevin Grevey, Elvin Hayes, Gus Johnson, Kevin Loughery, Earl Monroe & Wes Unseld

So who is the best?

Ultimately it boils down to one of four players - Gilbert Arenas, Phil Chenier, Jeff Malone or Earl Monroe. For example, Phil Chenier had a long and accomplished career. During Phil's career the team made seven playoff appearances, including three finals appearances (two of which he played in) and a NBA Championship. He also had three All-Star appearances and was able to generate very solid career numbers - 17.9 PPG, 3.1 APG and 3.7 RPG. However, he and the other players on this list played with teams that had a deeper talent pool.

Out of the players on this list Gilbert Arenas has played the second fewest games, yet he has the highest averages amongst points, assists, rebounds and minutes per game. And while only Earl Monroe played fewer games with the franchise, Arenas ranks fourth-highest in minutes played - further suggesting a lack of depth behind him on the team. Arenas has made four playoff appearances - three of which he made significant contributions. Arenas was also second on this list in steals (606) to Phil Chenier (667). He is also the teams most decorated player with three All-NBA awards.

So in an extremely close vote, the nod goes to Gilbert Arenas. While I am very respectful of Phil Chenier's contributions to an incredibly successful period in team history, there is no denying Gilbert's statistics. It is also important to again point out that he has accomplished this with having a thinner bench then virtually every player listed above.

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