Wizards talisman Gilbert Arenas won't be back until January, he now says. Understandably, missing Gil and Brendan Haywood, the Wizards are in last place in the East and better than only Oklahoma City. Worry not, fans: Gil understands if you want to root for losses the rest of the way.
"This year, with me and Brendan [Haywood] out, some of the veterans are like, 'Man, I don't even know what to think of this year,' " Arenas said. "And I told 'em, 'If this is one of those years we don't make the playoffs, we're one of those teams that's in last place the whole year -- you know that's what happened to San Antonio and that's how they got Tim Duncan. If that happens with us, it's for the better."
Arenas isn't quite saying that he's cool with last place ... but even so much as offering a silver lining is far removed from standard NBA practice. Even fans find it unsavory to all out "fantank," as Bill Simmons has dubbed it. We've seen the practice come unrewarded, with Boston slipping to the No. 5 pick after its futile '06-07 season. Consigning yourself to a season of awful play and 60+ losses makes losing the lottery even more crushing.
Outside the psychological effects of all these losses, I do wonder if the team's status affects Gilbert's playing status in any way. If the playoffs look out of reach by Christmas (it can happen, ask Miami '07-08), will Arenas slow down his recovery even more? While he doesn't seem like an overly cautious cat (understatement), he is a practical fellow.