Magic fans, the most recent comments by Gilbert Arenas should worry you.
Yes, you got a nice big-game win over the Lakers Sunday, but that does not totally erase the recent losses to the Bulls, Heat and Celtics. You need more consistent play, more wins over quality teams before we are convinced any corner was turned. And you need more consistent play out of your second unit guys.
Which brings us back to what Arenas told Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated.
“When you have the ball so much and you are making plays and in attack mode all the time, your rhythm is always there,” Arenas said. “Coming off the bench, trying to get warm, by the time you get warm, you are coming out of the game. So you never get a true feeling for the game. I respect guys who can come in the game and just catch fire. There are so many scorers on this team, my mindset is I don’t need to come in and be aggressive because we have Ryan Anderson, we have J.J. Redick.”
Arenas thinks a change in mindset will help him get more comfortable coming off the bench.
“I think for us to be successful, I need to have to start trying to dominate the second unit,” Arenas said. “I think that’s how we had success early. When I look back at our games, when we were on the nine-game winning streak, I was dominating that second unit. I need to get back to that.”
Arenas has spent most of his career with a complete green light, something few players in the NBA ever get. But he was the man, he was the guy creating shots and taking the scoring burden on. Now, in Orlando, he is another cog in the system. A guy who has to get his points in the flow of the offense and defer to the guys who do have the green light.
That can be a hard adjustment. However, Arenas is shooting 35.2 percent overall and 15 percent from three in his last 10 games, so while we appreciate his need to get going it may not be best for him to be shooting more often.
Arenas, to his credit, is dealing with coming off the bench well. And there are times he needs to be more aggressive. But if that aggression comes at the expense of the system it hurts Orlando more than it helps.
But at least now you have a view into what Arenas is thinking.