Arenas Not Picked as All-Star
Friday, February 10, 2006
Gilbert Arenas has made a career out of turning slights, whether real or perceived, into fuel for his high-scoring performances on the court.
So it should come as no surprise that the Washington Wizards guard plans to draw motivation from the fact that the NBA's Eastern Conference coaches did not select him as a reserve for the Feb. 19 All-Star Game in Houston.
The seven reserves were officially announced last night, but word that Arenas would not be included leaked Wednesday.
Arenas, an all-star reserve last season and the NBA's fourth-leading scorer this year, could be added to the 12-man squad by NBA Commissioner David Stern as a replacement for injured Indiana Pacers forward Jermaine O'Neal, but the sting of being left out by the fan voting process and then by the coaches in his own conference isn't going away any time soon.
Arenas has never gotten over falling out of the first round of the 2001 NBA draft, and he chose the uniform number zero because some critics believed that would be the number of minutes he would play at the University of Arizona.
"That chip was falling off from the 2001 draft and now another chip goes on," said Arenas, who is averaging 28.2 points and 5.9 assists per game this season. "You've just got to go out there and play. You can't let something like this hurt you. You know, 2001, I used that to get to this point and I'll use this to get further."
The Eastern Conference reserves are guards Chauncey Billups and Richard Hamilton, and forwards Rasheed Wallace and Ben Wallace of the Detroit Pistons; New Jersey guard Vince Carter; Boston forward Paul Pierce; and Toronto forward Chris Bosh.
Those players will join the game's starters, who were selected in fan voting: Miami center Shaquille O'Neal and guard Dwyane Wade, Cleveland forward LeBron James, Philadelphia guard Allen Iverson and Indiana's O'Neal, who is out with a groin tear.
Stern is going through a list of possible replacements for Jermaine O'Neal and is expected to make his decision this weekend with an official announcement to come as soon as Monday.
Candidates include Arenas, Detroit forward Tayshaun Prince, New Jersey point guard Jason Kidd, Milwaukee shooting guard Michael Redd, Orlando power forward Dwight Howard and Cleveland center Zydrunas Ilgauskas.
Wizards forward Antawn Jamison, who made the squad last season as a reserve and is averaging 19.3 points and 9.9 rebounds this season, also was not chosen by the coaches.
"I think I have 400 players I would consider," Stern joked when asked about Arenas yesterday. "I haven't done my deep dive into the issue but I know I have a little bit of work to do. I don't want to make any statements or prejudgments."