A few years ago, Gilbert Arenas was the prince of the Verizon Center. After joining the Wiz from the University of Arizona, Gil was an all-league all-star who was contributing night in and night out for the Wizards. The playoff runs and the birth of the rivalry with LeBron’s Cleveland teams in the middle of the decade may really be the only bright spot of the history of the “Wizards” era of the Bullets franchise.
Injuries and controversy in the last years brought Arenas down from All-NBA to “Are you kidding me?” The bottom of the valley was last season’s bizarre gun situation, leading to a season down the tubes via suspension. If not for the luck of the draft lottery and the arrival of John Wall, it isn’t entirely clear whether or not the new ownership would keep Arenas around even for the start of the season, even though his contract runs through 2014.
Last night, the Wizards started the preseason with a white-knuckle, 97-94 win over the Mavericks down in Dallas. The headlines read of John Wall’s contributions, but it was Arenas’s comments on Wall and about his future with the Wizards that seem to stand out in a funny way:
“Teach John (Wall) the ins and outs of the game and then eventually go on and move on, and I’m on my way…Right now, the city is John’s. I’m not here to fight anybody. I’m here to just play alongside him. He’s Batman and I’m Robin.”
Has Arenas hit his shelf life in DC? Or is he truly being a more mature player than what we saw last year in his childish antics? He thinks very highly of Wall. A dynamic duo and lots of support for the young guard could lead to the beginning of a Wizards rise in the Eastern Conference that, beyond the top two teams in Boston and Miami, is fairly wide open. The window is there – will Agent Zero still be here when it finally opens for the Wiz?