Feb 7, 2011, 11:31 AM EDT
You know what was wrong with Gilbert Arenas Sunday? Why he was limping around and shooting 0-7 from the floor in Orlando’s loss to Boston?
It was cold outside, he told CBSSports’ Ken Berger.
“Cities that are high on the map, I have trouble with,” Arenas said. “Like (Boston) during the winter. But as soon as February shows up – that’s why they call me Mr. February, because I’ll be dunking and jumping around in practice. I’m glad we’re about to have a month basically at home so I can just get my rhythm and be in the warm weather where my knee is going to feel a lot better. It’s like day and night. It’s weird.”
Asked when it will feel better, Arenas said, “As soon as we land in Orlando. When it’s cold, the coldness swells in my joints and puts moisture in my joints and that’s what makes it stiff. So once I get to a warm city, or any city that has high humidity, I’m fine.”
So just like your grandmother, Arenas can tell you when it’s going to rain due to his pain. Or, you can just watch him play and tell what the weather is like outside.
Of course, the weather outside may have less to do with it than Arenas’ mental adjustments. Arenas is clearly still struggling to fit in with the Magic offense — for years he had a green light in every situation, now he has to feed others, to pick his spots to shoot and attack. He has to fit in a system, not have the system fit to him. The result is he has averaged 7.7 points per game on 35 percent shooting in his last 10, and he is shooting 20 percent from three in that stretch.
He said as much to Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
“I’m going to shoot and if I see somebody I’ll pass it. That’s how I used to be. When you’re a scorer, and you’re thinking about scoring, everything comes easy. It’s just … weird. I catch myself not being aggressive, and when I do turn it on, I don’t have a rhythm.
“When I’m alone shooting, I feel like I can’t be beat. That’s how I shoot. But in a game, I’m so worried about missing shots, that’s what I end up doing.”
Arenas has to accept that the days he can get in a shootout with Kobe Bryant are over. He’s a backup point guard and while the Magic want scoring from him they need him to fit in the system more. He has to adjust his game.
Hedo Turkoglu and Jason Richardson have worked out well for the Magic out of their big in-season moves. But Arenas is the big, dangerous contract in that mix. If he doesn’t work out he could be the anchor on the Magic’s ability to win a title because that $63 million he is owed over the next three seasons after this makes it hard to get anything else done. And if they can’t win a title by the time Dwight Howard can become a free agent in a couple years… let’s not go there yet. We’re a long way from that.
But know that Arenas working out for the Magic matters. A lot.