Talking about a very mixed yet memorable legacy…

08 Nov

Not David Stern’s or Billy Hunter’s or anyone else’s involved in the ongoing CBA chess match but still I feel like after yesterday’s quite heavy brainstorming I should balance it out with something short and [hopefully] sweet.
Actually it will be the first non-boxscore post from a category Casually Unique

Let’s start with the most current point: isn’t it interesting that Arenas’ career arc had an impact on creating TWO changes in the NBA’s rules… and they were on a totally opposite side of problems?

He started as an underpaid steal found in a second round by Warriors [hence the “Gilbert Arenas” provision – in short, team which drafted him technically couldn’t match an offer he had received – for more details read question 38 in a great CBA FAQ by Larry Coon] and he will finish his career as one of the poster boys for badly overpaid contract which could cripple team’s future [hence the new amnesty clause]. Obviously both of those changes would have happened sooner or later without Arenas but, unofficially, both could be named after him.

And if you look at it closer Arenas has an interesting and unique career

On one hand he had a short window where he was a star in terms of popularity and production [2004-2007] which is a huge accomplishment for anybody let alone a 2nd round pick. In fact, he has 3rd most points scored per game out of every players drafted outside the first round in the history on the league [with other two being George Gervin and Alex English who obviously were drafted in an era when 2nd round pick meant something else] AND 14-th most assists per game from the same group of not 1st rounders.

On the other hand Arenas has a very good chance to become the worst 100+M$ NBA contract ever, at least in terms of production during that contract. Because to date he collected a total of 3.2 win shares [an equivalent of one below average season!] while his closest competitor is another overpaid shooting guard with serious knee problems – Allan Houston with 15.7. So it’s a long way to go for Arenas when he was barely over zero last year… or even below it depending on your source.

Also his style of play created an unmatched mix of stats:

One could easily argue that both of aforementioned statistical accomplishments were a result of his selfishness and hurt his team… but then you could be interested how he was able to pull that off over 500+ games?

Finally, don’t forget that he brought serious firepower not only to the court but also to the locker room which resulted in the longest non-drug non-violent suspension ever! I wrote “non-violent” because even though it was about a gun the punishment was purely based on a perception and some obscure rules rather than on any actual damage to him or anybody else.

In all, thank you Gilbert for a colorful career with a surprisingly lasting effect! ;-)

And just out of curiosity… how would you grade his career, as a failure or as a success?


Posted by on November 8, 2011 in Casually Unique


Tags: , , , ,

2 responses to “Talking about a very mixed yet memorable legacy…

  1. Devin Dignam

    November 8, 2011 at 05:14

    I know you say your english skills are rusty, but I’d like to point out an appropriate error (although maybe it was intentional):

    “And if you look at it closer Arenas had an interesting and unique career”

    You used past tense, as if Arenas’ career was over! Which is fitting, because it might as well be. If there is an amnesty provision in the next CBA, Arenas is a lock to be bought out, and, barring any Marbury-esque attempts to stick around the league, I think he’ll be done. Although you can never truly underestimate the willingness of teams to sign washed up “stars”, so you never know.

    So, to answer your questions: he was actually a pretty decent player when he was younger, but he has been an overpaid disaster for the past four seasons. Despite that, he’s made a pile of money, and his memory will live on long after he leaves the league. If Arenas considers his career as anything other than a success, he’s nuts (although…do we need more evidence to confirm that?).

    • wiLQ

      November 8, 2011 at 21:40

      If there’s an error, it’s probably not appropriate… although in this case at first it was intentional (I wrote whole article assuming he’s done) but I’ve changed my mind after including career win shares (he can still change something there one way or another and btw, I agree that someone will take a flyer on him). As you can see I haven’t changed tense everywhere so thanks for the catch.

      To clarify about grading his career: on a personal level it’s really a no-brainer if only because of the money but I’m more curious about basketball’s / GM’s side: such an extreme mix of surprise and disappointment. First half was a huge success and second part will be a huge failure… so how can you sum it up? Average with a huge variation? Roller-coaster worth watching? I’m not sure but I think it’s an interesting point to make especially with both of those sides of his career somewhat reflected in the CBA.


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