Saturday, January 20, 2007

Gil's Been Great, But...

At 24-16 following tonight's OT win over Boston, the Washington Wizards can find a lot to like about themselves. They have not only opened a 2.5 game lead over Orlando in the Southeast, they could potentially wrest the #1 seed in the Eastern Conference away from Cleveland (also 24-16). The Wizards are the 2nd highest scoring team in the NBA, behind only the Suns, and are reasonably healthy, meaning their strong play should continue into the post-All Star Game portion of the season.

Yet fans of the Wizards know there's still a lot of room for improvement--the team still doesn't play much defense, have much of an inside presence, and is prone to horribly streaky play. To all this, I need to add one more: the poor shooting of the team's one superstar and MVP candidate, Gilbert Arenas. Now I know Gil's never been much of a high-percentage shooter--43.1% on FGs for his career, which in the name of consistency, is the rate he's hitting at this season--but he has got to step it up. The other members of the team's Big 3 fare better: Caron Butler is a solid 48.5% and even the oft-maligned Antawn Jamison hits 45.3%.

More importantly, for Gil to further solidify his growing reputation as one of the top few scorers in the game, he needs to be careful to avoid an Iverson-like "chucker" mentality. Could it be that what Kobe Bryant dismissively said about Gil earlier in the year is right? Well, among the league's top 20 scorers, Gil is tied with--you guessed it--A.I. near the bottom in field-goal percentage, with only that other notorious chucker, T-Mac, below them.

Check out the stats of the NBA's top 20 in points per game, and you'll see why I hope Gil starts hitting more Js:

Player (Team)PPGFG %

Carmelo Anthony (DEN) 31.650.3

Gilbert Arenas (WAS) 29.943.2

Allen Iverson (DEN) 29.343.2

Dwyane Wade (MIA) 28.147.8

Kobe Bryant (LAL) 28.047.5

Michael Redd (MIL) 27.746.3

LeBron James (CLE) 26.947.3

Yao Ming (HOU) 25.952.2

Ray Allen (SEA) 25.644.5

Dirk Nowitzki (DAL) 25.050.2

Vince Carter (NJ) 25.044.7

Joe Johnson (ATL) 24.848.4

Zack Randolph (POR) 23.847.3

Richard Hamilton (DET) 23.045.9

Tracy McGrady (HOU) 22.843.0

Carlos Boozer (UTA) 22.356.1

Kevin Garnett (MIN) 22.247.5

Kevin Martin (SAC) 21.350.7

Ben Gordon (CHI) 21.045.9

Caron Butler (WAS) 21.048.5

[Note: all scoring stats cited in this post are for games played through Jan 19.]

Saturday, January 06, 2007

DSA's 2006 NFL Pick 'Ems Results

Week 17 standings:
Kevin 11-5, Andrew 10-6, Ning 10-6, Favorite 10-6, Moose 9-7, Z 9-7, Jay 8-8

Season standings:
Kevin 164-92, Andrew 160-96, Ning 150-106, Favorite 149-107, Z 141-117, Jay 140-116, Moose 137-119

Congratulations to Kevin for winning the first annual Da Sports Authority NFL Pick 'Ems competition!