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Community projection: Gilbert Arenas

Since we're talking about Gilbert Arenas, it's probably fair to recap his 06/07 season in some way.  

In a lot of ways, it was a coming out party for Arenas last year.  He became a blogging superstar, was a decent MVP candidate as he led the Wizards to the top of the East earlier in the year, and finally got selected to start his first all-star game.  He even got some reputation votes for the all-defensive team, even though he clearly didn't deserve it.  Most importantly, he was the main reason we all watched, and topped it off by earning his place as a clutch performer.

A closer look, however, reveals that it's not quite so clear whether Gilbert's season could be considered an improvement.  It's certainly true that Gil has become a more dangerous scorer than ever before, and it's also true that he seems to have diversified his all-around offensive game.  He definitely deserved his all-star selection, no question.  His points per game dipped, but that was mostly because he played fewer minutes (39.7 as compared to 42.2 in 05/06).  In reality, his per-40 points, rebounds, and assist numbers all improved, from 27.7/3.3/5.7 in 05/06 to 28.6/4.6/6.0 last year.  In light of that, it's hard to call Arenas a total failure.

Still, there were some disturbing signs.  Early in the year, Arenas' shot was very off, and as a result, the Wizards stumbled out of the gate.  He also wasn't doing a good job of getting to the free throw line, and he was taking out his blame on the officials.  In December and January, there was nobody better in the league, but once Antawn Jamison went down, things started to sputter again.  Arenas rebounded right after the all star break and was putting together a nice stretch, where he was utilizing his uncanny ability to draw fouls much more than he had been earlier in the year.  But even then, in the second half of the season, he was throwing together several bad games, including the two infamous ones against Portland.  By the end of the year, he was back to the inconsistent Gilbert from the beginning of the year, and the team suffered.

Most of Gilbert's percentages went way down, as did a couple other relevant stats.

Basically, Gilbert is controlling the ball more, but scoring less efficiently.  His usage rate has gone up every season, but last year was the first one his scoring efficiency went down.  Perhaps it's time for him to control the ball less this year.

Do I think he will?  I don't know.  The main problem with last season was that this team was totally dependent on Gil based on the way they played.  They have too much talent now to play that way, and hopefully, Gilbert's injury will slow him down a bit.  He would be best as a quasi-distributor until the shot clock goes under 10, at which point he can isolate against his man.  Within the Princeton offense, he already gets plenty of shots.  My hope is that he ditches it less this season, because when we run the Princeton, it works.

Okay, enough of that.  Time to predict his numbers.  Put your predictions in the comments section of this post.  I'm putting both traditional and advanced numbers out there for reference.

For the traditionalists:

2006/07: 28.4 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 6.0 APG, 1.9 SPG, 41.8 FG%, 35.1 3PT%, 84.4 FT%.

For the statheads:

2006/07: 28.6 P/40, 4.6 R/40, 6.0 A/40, 1.9 S/40, 48.4 eFG%, 56.5 TS%, 24.0 PER, 29.8 UsgR, 17.4 AssR (assist rate), 9.3 ToR.

Predict as little or as much in the comments as you like. I'm heading out the door, so if you don't know what a stat is, just don't worry about it. For the next CP, I'll post a glossary of some kind.