The On Deck Circle

The unofficial home of Real Talk

A Response to Agent Zero

Posted by Blake Murphy on February 12, 2008

I really didn’t plan on responding to this, but the amount of MSN/e-mail comments people have made to me has been overwhelming. Yes, Gilbert Arenas is back in the news again, this time for chirping Raptor-faithful favorite Jose Calderon.

In his blog (and later in every newspaper on the planet, apparently), Gilbert, with respect to Jose’s All-Star candidacy, wrote:

”On the East side, I don’t know if there were any big snubs. I mean, some people wanted Jose Calderon. Jose Calderon? Who? Come on man, this is All-Star, people. When I’ve seen some of the names that are being thrown around on the ticker as snubs, it’s killing me. I understand Calderon has the best assist-turnover ratio in the league, but you know what’s funny? All back-up point guards have the best assist-turnover ratios. Screw it, Kevin Ollie should be an All-Star then! For like five or six years, Ollie was No. 1 in assist-turnover ratio!

An All-Star is an All-Star! He’s playing at a high level. That means, if you take him off the team, that team should fall down if he’s that one guy. An All-Star means that he is dominating the game of basketball. It’s not even about numbers necessarily, it’s about dominating.

I could probably say that Richard Jefferson got snubbed maybe Josh Smith too. His 18 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks puts him at No. 14. Richard Jefferson is No. 13. Turkoglu is No. 15. But, El Calderon? Come on.

I’ve been loving the way he’s been playing for the last two years. When he first came into the league he was a little timid and scared to shoot the ball, but he’s taking over that team. But All-Star? He’s about 20 years away from being an All-Star.

This is the difference between Antawn and Caron stepping up with me out and Calderon stepping up with T.J. Ford out: Antawn is second in the league in double-doubles and there’s only five players in the league averaging 20 and 10 – he’s one of them. There’s Dwight Howard, Al Jefferson, Carlos Boozer, Chris Bosh and Antawn. Four of those five are All-Stars and their teams are winning. Caron is playing at a high level. He’s taking over the game when he’s been playing – All-Star. Calderon is managing a team. If he was up for Rookie All-Star, Sophomore All-Star … BOOM … he’d get in. He might even be MVP! But for the big show? The big game? No.”

For more from Gilbert’s usually hilarious blog, you can hit this.

As usual, Agent Zero has spoken a little bit out of his ass and pissed a lot of people (read: Raptor fans) off. The comments in response to his piece are large in number and angry in context. So what do I think of Gil’s breakdown of Jose? Well for one, I think he should stick to Men’s Journal articles.

I can agree with Gil right away that perhaps Josh Smith is a better All-Star choice than Jose, fine. But that pick should have come at the cost of teammate Joe Johnson’s spot. With respect to Hedo, he is as borderline a candidate as Jose is. Jefferson? His team is performing poorly and he offers nothing but points. Regardless, my quarrel is not even with him suggesting Jose is not the foremost backup All-Star. I can see the merit in this argument.

My beef comes with the way he approached it. First of all, how the hell is someone supposed to become an all-star name without their first all-star selection? That part of the election question is always a circular argument, but if Mehmet Okur and Wally World can be all-stars, Jose can be too.

And sure Gil, Jose was a back-up, and back-ups generally do have better assist-to-turnover ratios. But one of the five greatest of all time is not pedestrian. Kevin Ollie also didn’t do it while averaging close to 10 assists per night and starting in two thirds of his games played.

And Gil, check the stats. Jose does more than just collect dimes. His scoring average is low by all-star standards (though comparable to Jason Kidd), but his shooting percentages from everywhere on the floor (overall, 3-point, and free throws) are out of this world.

And homie, an all-star does not mean your team falls down without you. By that logic, you are not an all-star, and any player on a team with a losing record (since the team can’t get worse without you) is not an all-star. Paul Pierce probably isn’t an all-star,

and most players on highly competitive teams aren’t, because their teams are deep enough to cover for a player lost to injury. Sure, being an all-star is about dominating the game, but how can you watch Jose and the way he terrorizes opposing PGs and say he doesn’t dominate on that side of the ball? The floor is never as well spaced as it is with Jose out there, and you can bet if you replace Jose with Juan Dixon during TJ’s absence that everyone but Bosh is going to suffer (though Dixon would probably average 25 points a night on 33% shooting-”Is he going to shoot that??”).

Yup, Calderon is just managing a team. A team one spot above yours in the standings despite a long-term injury to a player of nearly comparable value to his team (TJ) as youare to yours. Oh, and 20 years away? Hyperbole much, Zero? If, Bosh-forbid, Jose suits up for another team next year, say one lacking a true point guard (Miami, Atlanta, Cleveland, etc), good luck keeping him out of the February Classic.

We know you have a big mouth Gil, and usually it’s very entertaining. This time it was, too; it gave me something to do instead of studying for my two Wednesday mid-terms. And I respect that you’re willing to put your opinion out there constantly for the fans to enjoy. And you’re not even wrong in saying Jose probably isn’t the biggest All-Star snub in the East. But don’t insult the guy, man. I’m sure Jose can’t wait to see you guys again. In the words of Booker T, “Gilbert Arenas, we comin’ for you!”

11 Responses to “A Response to Agent Zero”

  1. This is Dave Power Says:

    March 7th is scheduled in my books, if I’m not at the game I’ll be at home listening to the torment your gonna get Gilbert. I dunno if Gilbert has ever been in Toronto when Vince Carter is around, but I expect close to the same, as Jose is one of the mose beloved Raptors. Let’s go Raptors, F U Gilbert

  2. Sam Cassady Says:

    Gilbert will now be entered into the category of “Dumb-est Player In Sports” …among other not-so-flattering categories.

    And one more point for thought: Would the Wiz be better with Jose over Gilbert? I’d say so…and I think Caron and Antawn’s (the #1 and 2 best players on that team) shooting percentages would agree.

  3. Blake Murphy Says:

    Yup I agree with you 100% on that sentiment Sam. By the way, if people didn’t get the Booker T reference, check this out: Booker T!

  4. Erik Says:

    What a joke.

    Zero needs to spend less time blogging and more time rehabbing that bummed knee. Then maybe people will care about what he has to say.

  5. Sam Cassady Says:

    Man, I just can’t stop thinking about this….

    It kinda goes back to that whole past argument over ’super-stars’ vs. teams. Gilbert clearly thinks of himself as a super-star, ‘dominating’ the game, but by simultaneously criticizing Jose for being a team oriented player, he just reinforces how disruptive his ’super-star’ status is. He would rather ‘dominate’ than feed his team-mates…and win! I honestly think the all-star game means more to Gilbert than the playoffs do.

    Note how instead of talking about the playoffs, Glibert is devoting much attention to this all-star thing….something that is just clearly a side-show! Gilbert, you’re a FREAK!

  6. This is Dave Power Says:

    100% the wizards would be the clear cut runner for 3rd place in the east if Jose was in Washington, but thank god he isn’t and Arenas needs to sort himself out, he has no class. Remember that Adidas commercial about Arenas, “the first 40 games of me career i sat on the bench, they though I was a zero” “wasn’t even about basketball anymore I just wanted to prove them wrong” the only thing Arenas has proved to be is he has no concept of team basketball and is a very selfish individual. You got a problem when you “chirp” one of the clasiest and hardest working players in the NBA for no reason, agent zero is a punk

  7. stu Says:

    I think part of what Gilbert says embodies the way the NBA thinks about itself - it’s more about entertainment than competition at this point, much more so than any other league. This is a league that’s all about superstars, and some non-highlight reel floor general who was completely unknown three years ago isn’t what the NBA wants in its all-star showcase. How many times do you think Jose’s been mentioned on SportCenter this season?

    Wally World was a recognizable name to even casual hoops fans when he was an all-star because of both his NBA performances and his March Madness heroics with Miami Ohio. Mehmet is more of a Jose-type all-star, but I’m willing to bet that he was in the league longer than Jose has been at this point. Mehmet also had the advantage of being a big, a position where skilled players are much more scarce.

    Not saying Jose doesn’t deserve to be called an All-Star, just saying it’s not exactly all about recognizing achievement.

  8. The Anti-Virus Says:

    Gil is an all around clown of a person

  9. kevin Says:

    i agree with gilbert…

  10. kevin Says:

    oh wait, no i don’t and don’t think one serious basketball fan would either. gotch tho didn’t i blake?

  11. flounder Says:


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