While some NBA stars have come to view duty with the U.S. men's basketball team as a chore, Washington Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas said he would gladly accept an invitation if it is extended.

"I would absolutely be on the team," said Arenas, who entered last night's game against the Portland Trail Blazers ranked fourth in the NBA in scoring at 26.5 points per game. "I'd do it in a second. Hopefully they ask me."

Under the direction of Jerry Colangelo, managing director of USA Basketball and chairman of the Phoenix Suns, the first true U.S. national team program is beginning to take shape. "It would be an honor to represent my country in the Olympics," Arenas said. "Besides, I've never even been out of the country."

Defense Slacking

Even before watching Portland put up 28 first-quarter points in last night's game, which tied a season high for first-quarter points scored against the Wizards this season, Coach Eddie Jordan made it clear that his team's defensive intensity and execution must improve. Speaking prior to the game, Jordan said his team's defense is worse than last season, when the Wizards allowed 100.8 points per game.

"No, we're not as good right now," Jordan said. "We've had some individual breakdowns and so, we hope to reward players who are going to defend. Guys who are not going to go out there and defend the right way are going to have to wait their time."