Fantasy Fallout: Agent (Less than) Zero

No wonder things were so quiet in Gil's world this offseason ... turns out that the only good news was that he's now $111 million richer and he's quickly put the money to outlandish use. Just as thoughts are starting to turn towards NBA camps opening, this enlightening tidbit of info emerged in The Washington Post's Wizards Insider on Wednesday:

Gilbert Arenas confirmed Wednesday that he underwent a surgical procedure this morning that "cleaned out some debris" in his left knee and won't be ready to play for the Wizards until early December. Arenas, who has undergone two surgeries to repair the left knee in the last two seasons, has been limited during the rehab process all summer and said he has planned all along on not participating in training camp or the preseason.

If you are like me, you are already in the middle rounds of a slow message board draft, and Arenas was off the board early in the second (not to me). He would have been previously (and seriously) downgraded had the latter revelation - the one about his rehab pace and plans to not be a camp particiapant - come to light in the days, weeks, or months prior to announcing a third surgical procedure.

Arenas said this procedure should actually allow him to come back faster, so the question then becomes "faster than what?". There were no public indications that he wasn't going to be ready to start camp leading up to Wednesday, so my only guess is that the parties in the know were trying to put off the massive PR flap as long as possible. So now we're looking at an overly-optimistic best-case scenario being a December return, while the team has opted for the "no timetable" approach. By the way, Arenas provides a post-script to the whole turn of events here.

I can assure you that Arenas won't be on any of my fantasy teams this season. Take away his explosiveness and you're essentially looking at Stephen Jackson's production, right down to the level of efficiency. Much of his fantasy impact in recent seasons has been tied to how often he gets to the charity stripe (9.2 FTA per game from 04-05 to 06-07), and he loses a significant amount of those attempts without his quickness (look no further than his 3.8 FTA per game this past April for an example). He's not a great jumpshooter and his assist-to-turnover ratio has only not been an issue to this point because it's been propped up by massive offensive output.

The Wizards play 14 games before December 1 and 30 games before January 1. Nothing will be known for certain for a few months, but it appears safe to set the over/under at 50 games played (or is it?). Dwayne Wade played 51 games at limited capacity last season and finished with a season rank of 119th (a 10th round impact), and my advice is to draft acordingly. Arenas take a sizeable hit in my soon-to-be released keeper league rankings, as well; I just don't have much faith in a scenario where he's ever truly back to 100 percent, putting up numbers that rival his best seasons with the Wizards.

Feel free to upgrade Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison a bit on your cheatsheets - they will once again bear the offensive load while Arenas is out and/or limited. Antonio Daniels also makes sense as a PG target in the latest rounds - he'll provide very uninspiring numbers (10 pts, 5 ast, 1 stl), but he's going to get minutes. I bet the Wiz wish they still had Roger Mason...

If you've already drafted Arenas, feel free to vent below. If you have yet to draft, where can you see yourself using a pick on Arenas? And how do you keeper league managers feel about his long-term prospects?


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