I had an e-mail discussion with Pradamaster from Bullets Forever this morning. We exchanged questions and answers about our respective teams. Here are the questions I asked and answers Pradamaster gave. Check out my answers over at Bullets Forever. They should be up soon.
1. The Wizards are currently 24-16 and have won 7 out of the past 10. What do you think they can do better in the second half of the season.
I really don't think there's too much the players can do. Asking Gilbert Arenas to be even better is tough, and Caron Butler is already having an incredible year. Antawn Jamison is what he is at this point, and the rest of the key players have played extremely well. No, for the Wizards to get better, it's all on Eddie Jordan. Jordan has made some very questionable rotation decisions, which has prompted us to create our very own rotation thread. He has an affinity for playing a small lineup, with Jarvis Hayes at power forward and Antawn Jamison at center. The Wizards really struggle with that lineup, but Jordan continues to play it. That's not a good sign.
I guess defensively the Wizards could stand to improve as well, but that may be wishful thinking.
2. Gilbert Arenas is scoring at will against many of the teams he plays against. Do you think that has hurt the team at all?
Absolutely not. Arenas is also leading the team in assists, and if he was really killing the team, do you think Butler would be having a career year? The major difference between Arenas and Iverson is
that Arenas' teammates are having great seasons (e.g. Butler, DeShawn Stevenson, Brendan Haywood), while Iverson's never have.
3. Besides Agent Zero, who do the Suns need to watch out for?
Caron Butler has emerged as an all-star caliber player this season, and he torched the Suns for 32 in the first matchup. Antawn Jamison is still solid as well. That trio makes up the highest-scoring trio in the NBA, and the consistency of Butler and Jamison helps to mask the violatility of Arenas.
4. Who do you think the Wizards will have the most trouble with to win the Eastern Conference and get to the Finals?
Probably Cleveland, because they have LeBron and some great offensive rebounders that can add more posessions for the Wizards defense. I also don't like the Chicago matchup...Kirk Hinrich always plays Arenas tough, and they do a great job of creating open jumpers on offense, which is what the Wizards really struggle with. If Miami is healthy, that's also not a really good matchup, with Shaq controlling the paint.
Despite being the top team in the East right now, the Wizards are hardly the favorite in the conference. I'd say they're 4th or 5th right now. Only Detroit is a really great matchup as far as teams ahead of them.
5. A lot of Wizards fans thought I was out of my mind that I wouldn't consider Gilbert Arenas as an MVP candidate. What are the reasons you think he should be included in the MVP discussion?
With Melo and Iverson in Denver, Arenas is likely going to lead the league in scoring for the best team (record wise) in the East. He's won numerous games at the buzzer, came up big against some of the best teams in the league, and has still managed to make his teammates better. The key letter in the MVP acronym for me is the "V." Sticking the best player on the best team and saying he's the MVP is incomplete to me, because he's not always the main key for success. Nash certainly passes that test, but guys like Dirk and Duncan don't. Dirk's numbers are where they were last year; the Mavericks are better because of Josh Howard and Devin Harris' emergence. Same with the Spurs; Parker and Ginobili have been the keys.
Without Arenas, the Wizards wouldn't be a playoff team. They have an obscene record when he scores 30 or more points, and a horrible one when he doesn't. They need Arenas to be that volume scorer to be good. To me, that's the definition of valuable.
I'd still give the award to Nash, but you gotta give Agent Zero some consideration.
So what do you think of his answers? How would you answer them? Leave your comments!