I know I have written about football on several occasions and stated that I didn't expect many comments from anyone because only a few of you even care about American Football. Well, this post is about basketball, I already know Kit's take on basketball, he hates it so I don't really expect anyone here to even care about this post. The only reason I am writing it is because I was logging in 1 of my many hours either watching ESPN or looking on ESPN.com for sports updates and heard good(potentially great) news. If anyone reads this and doesn't know what I'm talking about, feel free to do research and become interested.
The Washington Wizards All-Star point guard, Gilbert Arenas, has just opted out of his contract which makes him a restricted free agent. Restricted free agent means he is no longer with the Wizards to an extent, so any team can offer him a contract and sign him, only if the Wizards decide they do not want to match the contract he was offered. Why am I excited you ask? Well, for those of you who don't know much about basketball, Gilbert Arenas in the past couple years has established himself as a prolific scorer and one of the best closers in the game, ranking him up there with Kobe Bryant, T-Mac, and Lebron James. Calling him a closer can go both ways. If anyone watched game 2 of the NBA Finals the other night they would know the Celtics were beating the Lakers by as much as 21 points. When they got that huge lead they kind of got fancy with passes and ended up fighting off a Lakers team who came within 6 points of winning the game. If the Celtics did not have the closers they had there to take the game over in the end to hold of the Lakers, they surely would have lost it. That is what Gilbert can do, he can score when he needs to, when his team needs him to. Another way he is a closer, well I guess instead of calling him a closer, I can call him clutch. He is very clutch in the end and has made several, I believe the most in the league last year, shots from 3-point range at the buzzer to win his team the game. How can you argue with that? Why wouldn't you want that on your team. The only down side for teams is, he is looking for a $120 million dollar contract, I don't usually say this about athletes, but hey, he is worth it.
Now, my excitement is for my team, the Philadelphia 76ers. This year they were one of the youngest and most successful teams in the NBA. They had a decent veteran point guard who was the only one in the starting 5 over 30 years old. They have an amazing starting Small Forward/Shooting Guard in Andre Iguodala, an emerging rookie Small Forward/Power Forward, a solid shot blocking and rebounding and scoring Center/Power Forward in Samuel Dalembert. They did have a very hard working and productive Power Forward this year, but I don't think he is worthy of a starting position, definitely a good bench player. Their bench right now consists of 3 solid Small Forwards, the two I already mentioned and 3rd year man Rodney Carney.
Here was their starting lineup this year:
Andre Miller has great trade value. For starters, he is 32, that may seem "old" for athletes, but not point guard, point guards mostly get better with age, he also is on the last year of his contract, so any team he is traded to will have a solid point guard for a year which they can resign if they want, or they have an expiring contract to free up some salary cap space. Trade Miller, sign Arenas. Something else Arenas can do, he can be a veteran aid for 21 year old PG Louis Williams, essentially the PG of the future for the 76ers. Williams has already established himself to be a future scoring PG that can also dish out double figure assists, which is what Arenas is, and Miller is too, just a lesser version of Arenas.
You usually don't have a problem when you have 2 people that are solid backing up a position, but when 2 of the 3 are starting material, you do. Andre Iguodala is 6'6" and a GREAT defender who practices with Kobe Bryant, another 6'6" player that plays SG. Putting A.I. at SG would give us a big, strong, speedy SG with great leaping ability and a scoring attitude with great defense, just like Bryant. He is also one of the only players in the league that can guard Bryant 1 on 1. Having a back court of sharp shooting and lane driving Gilbert Arenas and high flying Andre Iguodala is a back court I have been dreaming of for years.
Putting 2nd year sensation Thaddeus Young at small forward is a great idea. He is a great scorer, perfect size for a SF at 6'8", but too small for a PF, so it works out. He will have a solid backup in Rodney Carney. Now the next position takes me to the NBA draft. If the 76ers get a chance, they should draft 7'2" Center Roy Hibbert out of Georgetown. He has great footwork, good scoring ability, and obvious great rebounding and shot blocking at 7'2". That would move the slightly undersized current center, Samuel Dalembert, at 6'11" to Power Forward where I think he can thrive. He is slightly shorter than most Centers in the league, but taller than almost all Power Forwards, almost all. He is one of the best shot blockers and rebounding in the league and has great scoring ability and is a great low post banger, as is Hibbert.
New lineup(with backups) if I was the GM:
PG-Gilbert Arenas/Louis Williams
SG-Andre Iguodala/Willie Green
SF-Thaddeus Young/Rodney Carney
PF-Samuel Dalembert/Reggie Evans
C-Roy Hibbert/Jason Smith(another 7 footer)
That is a freaking dream lineup for me, and this dream could very possibly come true. You have a SG that can do it all, even defend the likes of Kobe Bryant, a PG that can shoot lights out from anywhere on the floor, or drive to the whole or pass it out, a SF that can score from mid range or drive to the whole and dunk, a PF/C combo that could rebound over anyone and block anyone. I dare, double dog dare, anyone to drive to the hole with a shot blocking duo like that waiting for you.
Honestly, if this signing and drafting happens, look for the 76ers in at least the Eastern Conference Finals, if not the NBA Finals, in the 2008-09 season. Ed Stefanski...MAKE IT HAPPEN!