With the first day of Wizards training camp coming, Bullets Forever is asking 20 questions about key issues with the team in 2010/11.
Notorious, talented, enigmatic, fun-loving, insane, hated and loved; Gilbert Arenas is not an easy man to understand. The Agent Zero and Hibachi that we grew to love did a complete 180 last year. After two lost years to knee injury and a coaching change, he was pushed to become a leader and showed a serious side for the first time in his career. It is unclear how much Gil's seriousness contributed to the gun incident, his on-court performance or his leadership, but there is no doubt that his demeanor this season is a big factor for the Wizards, particularly with him being partly responsible for the development of John Wall.
Which brings us to our next question:
Which Gilbert Arenas personality will we see this season?Things have been relatively quiet on the Arenas front this offseason. There have been a few trade rumors, and some information about his relationship with Uncle Ted, so maybe just quiet by Agent Zero standards, but still, a little quiet. My take is we will see something in between the serious and crazy. The Wizards have the same coach, and David Stern and the NBA are keeping a close eye on him, so Gil cannot go off of the deep end. Part of the reason for his long suspension is that he did not seem to take the gun incident seriously, as exemplified by his barrage of tweets and the infamous finga gunz episode.
That said, since the incident occurred, Gil has appeared to get back to being 'Hibachi'. There has not only been the tweets and finga gunz, but also his interview with Esquire, in which he dropped several gems. He has also switched his jersey number this offseason........twice! I was excited for the 6 shooter era, but Gil has quickly moved onto #9 (nickname needed, and not 9 millimeter). Now that's the kooky guy we know and love!
I honestly never felt comfortable with Gil trying to change who he is. I know we didn't see whether Gil only showed the serious side publicly, but let's face it, he is a really weird dude at heart, and the serious version of him made me uneasy. He can make a concerted effort to be more 'leader like', by shutting down his blog, and generally avoiding media attention, but he can't completely change who he is.
The question then becomes how does his personality affect the Wizards. There is no way to tell whether 'serious Gil' plays better basketball than 'Hibachi'. Last season wasn't a great one for Arenas, but that is likely due to the effects of his knee injuries. Was Gil's leadership at least improved because he toned down his personality? It is hard to say here again. Sure, he was a captain, but the outsider perspective is that Gil was not an improved leader last year. Kirk Hinrich's acquisition indicates that the Wizards also believe more veteran leadership is needed around John Wall. On the other hand, Gil's wild side could be a leadership asset by grabbing media attention and shielding Wall as the rookie acclimates to the NBA.
I think a Gilbert Arenas somewhere between the funny and serious will best serve the team and will be what we see this season. He will not be able to ever be completely stone-faced, but cannot help but know he needs to make an effort to be a better leader, especially now that the offense will likely run through our new PG.