Gilbert Arenas says his problem is he’s being too passive

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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.

Remembering Notre Dame, Laker legend Tommy “the hawk” Hawkins

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Tommy Hawkins passed away recently at the age of 80.

The former NBA player was the first black athlete to earn All-America honors in basketball at Notre Dame (he still holds the school’s total rebounds record), was drafted in the first round, and went on to have a 10-year NBA career playing for the Minneapolis/Los Angeles Lakers as well as the Cincinnati Royals. Los Angeles fans may also remember him as the long time director of communications for the Los Angeles Dodgers after his playing days ended.

The NBA put together this well done video look back at Hawkins’ career.

Celtics’ Brad Stevens said early September tests will show if Thomas ready for camp

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Isaiah Thomas said he expects to be ready for the Celtics’ training camp next month. The guard’s All-NBA season came to an early end in the playoffs when he aggravated a labral tear in his right hip initially suffered back in March. At least the injury did not require surgery.

Players are also about the worst judges of when they will recover from an injury. They pretty much all think they are invincible and will be healthy faster than doctors predict.

Coaches tend to be more pragmatic. Take Boston’s Brad Stevens, who told Chris Mannix on The Vertical Podcast that tests in a couple of weeks will show if Thomas is ready for camp.

“He has another follow-up and another scan in the early part of September. Obviously, it’s been a lot of appropriate rest, a lot of rehab. There have been some good strides here certainly in the last month or few weeks, but we’re not going to know that until after that early September timeframe.”

The Celtics are understandably going to be cautious with Thomas, while Thomas wants to prove he is healthy and has no ill effects from the injury as he enters a contract year (one where he expects to get PAID). Also, the Celtics could use him in camp as they start to figure out how he and Gordon Hayward can share playmaking duties.

Still, from the outset, the timelines have suggested he should be ready for camp in late September. Coaches are just cautious on these things by nature.

Allen Iverson predicts LeBron James will win MVP

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LeBron James has four NBA MVP trophies in his case. (Does he keep that case in his home in Akron or the one in Los Angeles… that’s a question for another day.) Only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (six) and Michael Jordan (five) have more.

Could LeBron James add a fifth to his case this season?

Allen Iverson said yes at last weekend’s Big3 playoffs in Seattle.

LeBron was fourth in preseason odds to win the MVP at 15/2, behind Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, and Kawhi Leonard.

To me, LeBron could be a good bet. If/when Kyrie Irving is traded, the chances of LeBron getting the MVP go up. If LeBron puts up impressive numbers (again) and leads a depleted Cavaliers team to a top two seed in the East, he is certainly going to be in consideration. And should be.

It’s a long season, and personally, I think you need to get midway through the season before seriously considering the year-end awards. But history says LeBron will be in the mix, and Allen Iverson could be proven prophetic.

Phoenix Suns with quality solar eclipse joke on Twitter

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With the cooler-than-I-expected solar eclipse on Monday came a lot of bad solar eclipse jokes on Twitter. Because that’s what Twitter does. Especially the NBA Twitterverse. We knew a lot of “where on the flat earth will Kyrie Irving watch the eclipse?” jokes were coming.

There were a couple of good ones, however.

Appropriately, the Phoenix Suns won the day.

One personal favorite here, an old meme that never goes out of style.