Tuesday, January 4th, 2011 at 10:30 am  |  27 responses

Meet Gilbert Arenas, Defensive Stopper?

Arenas has impressed his new coach on the defensive end so much that he’s earning extra playing time as a result. The Sentinel reports: “Orlando Magic guard Gilbert Arenas played the entire fourth quarter Monday night against the Golden State Warriors, as Jameer Nelson logged just 8 minutes, 41 seconds in the second half. Arenas’ increased playing time had nothing to do with his points (11) or assists (2), however. It was all about Arenas’ exceptional play on the defensive end of the floor. ‘I thought he played very, very hard defensively and I wanted to reward that,’ Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said. It’s a sign of the defensive improvement Arenas has shown in Orlando in just two weeks. When Arenas arrived in Orlando, he was a mess on defense. He’ll admit that. He played too far off his man, he went underneath screens and he had lazy habits from his days in Washington. Now he’s more motivated on that end of the floor, realizing that his defensive play will dictate his playing time. ‘I think he’s capable of playing good defense,’ Van Gundy said. ‘I think he had been playing guys too soft and giving them too much. And tonight I think he made a great effort defensively.’”

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  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy


  • shu

    Well, was a good athlete, not spending much energy on the offensive end, might as well use it to D up. It’s not like they still have Lee or pietrus off the bench for stops so might as well give Gil a try. I still think they’ll try to land another big for any of their talented wings, they just have too many and not enough minutes to go around. Bass might get surgery? They gotta move quick. Jameer nelson+JJ Reddick for ….. Jamison? Thabeet? Okur?

  • K.a.

    Ehh, never imagined g hill to become a defensive stopper especially after multiple surgery but there it is.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Wayno

    Having a guy like Dwight Howard playing behind you will make just about anyone look good.

  • http://www.kb24.com The Seed

    Cosign Wayno

  • T-Money

    Mmmm… So basically SVG has already given up on playing Nelson and Arenas at the same time (22 and 26 minutes yesterday). Interesting.

  • add

    i new zero wasnt burned out

  • dsleepy

    as a longtime gilbert fan, i remember when he was trying out for the olympic squad and was praised by coach k as being one of the very best on-ball defenders on the floor. this guy has always had the ability, he was just in a culture in dc that didn’t force him to actually use it, and to be quite frank i don’t think he wanted to. defense is about desire. and he clearly has the desire now to do anything and everything to help his new team win. good for him.

  • dsleepy

    that being said i don’t think he will keep the mindset longer than this season. once he gets comfortable with his surroundings and has taken jameer’s starting job, he’ll go back to how he was before.

  • http://www.need4sheed.com Tarzan Cooper

    Wayno and seed need to slap themselves. This is about gils perimeter on ball defense. Its all on him for that, dwight doesnt help inthat regard……… I think gil will take jameers starting spot in another month.

  • http://theurbangriot.com The Nupe

    It’s nice to see Gil work so hard and make a positive contribution. It’s much easier to play aggressive on the ball defense when you have help in the paint. I guess maybe Gil has figured that out and now doing it again. It’s now a matter of time to see if his offensive numbers will go up to something that resembles his Wiz days.

  • LA Huey

    Guys are willing to play up on their man if they know there’s an eraser behind them. I would be less concerned with a guy getting past me if I know Dwight has my back than if it’s Kevin Love.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Wayno

    @ Tarzan – Not entirely true. When you have an elite interior defender waiting for the person you are defending, it allows for the perimeter defender to me more agressive and take more risks because if his man gets by him, it’s not the end of the world because they have to deal with a guy like Dwight. I watched plenty of this when Detroit had Ben Wallace and Rasheed Wallace. They both made Billups, Hamilton, and Prince look like far better defenders than they actually were.

  • Shem

    Wayno is right. You can take more risks because even if you do get beat, D12 can bring help d. If Gil gets beat when D12 isn’t there, that’s 2 points he just gave up. Plus if those risks do pay off and you get a steal you get that much more praise..

  • youngmuggsy

    @Wayno – Odd that Prince and Billups continued to be two of the best defenders at their positions without Rasheed and Ben.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Wayno

    @ youngmuggsy – not saying they weren’t but having great defenders behind them still made them look better. Prince has been a pretty average to above average without Sheed and Ben whereas, he was considered one of the top defenders at his position with them behind him. As for Billups, since he started playing well he’s always had elite defenders behind him. In Minnesota he had KG, in Detroit he had Ben and/or Sheed, in Denver he’s had K-Mart, Nene, and Birdman. It’s common knowledge that Good defensive bigs often make perimeter defenders look better.

  • http://www.need4sheed.com Tarzan Cooper

    I get what youre saying, but thats not the point. Read again. Stan say gil is playing up on his man now, getting into him a lil bit. You make it seem like hes gambling for a steal everytime. Stan says gil is playing better defense, and stan is not known for giving unwarranted compliments.

  • dma

    They won by 20. Reading too much into this PT.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Wayno

    Understood Tarzan, but like I said, having an elite defender behind you allows you to play up on your man more. Playing off your man more makes it easier to keep your man out of the lane because you have more time to react to the offensive players move. If you don’t have good interior defense, this is great because it forces players to rely on lower precentage shots. On the other hand, playing a more harrasing defense on your man may be more likely to cause a turnover, but it also makes it easier for your man to get around you. That’s how having a great defensive big makes it possible to do this.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Wayno

    That being said, Gil is definitely putting more effort into his D, but having a guy like Dwight Howard on your team will do that to you.

  • http://www.need4sheed.com Tarzan Cooper

    At the same time, if u give ur man a lil cushion, ur giving him a running start. He can setup however he wants. If ur in his grill, hes not comfortable. Obviously, theres an optimal balance, and it depends on who ur guarding. ….. Orlando is getting better.

  • tavoris

    Gil has always been able to man up on D…he just didn’t always put the effort out there.

  • tomtom

    anybody else just sick of Eboy? ppl kiss his ass on here like he’s some kind of guru, i don’t really hear him talk that much sense. It’s kind of basketball snobbery on a really juvenile level.

  • http://slamonline.com Ugh

    Can someone explain to me how taking risks is good defence?

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    Anyone else think it was no coincidence the Magic got the deepest into the playoffs with RAFER ALSTON (a somewhat TRUE, PASS FIRST player) running the point guard spot? I think Gil can play that style better than Nelson can.

  • Mike from Spain

    I like how Orlando’s three way trade has recovered some players who did not seem to be doing much any longer. Gilbert Arenas now sees the chance to be the 1st point guard in the rotation, while at Washington he had no more chances or motivation. Rashard Lewis is better in Washington than in Orlando. Pietrus Gortat and Vince Carter are working just fine in Phoenix. At first it did not seem to be a win for all situation, but it looks that way to me now…

  • Armando

    Duhon and Richardson are expendable now. Charlotte’s got plenty of bigs: Duhon and Richardson for Mohammed or Brown or Diop, all of them are good for 10-15 mins behind Howard and all of them are solid defensively… it works in the ESPN trade machine at least…