CSN is running a bracket to determine the best player in Wizards/Bullets franchise history. There are 16 players in a four-round tournament. The first round will be voted on by fans, while the rest will be determined by our analysts. The winner will be revealed during an hour-long special called 'Best of the Best' on Friday, July 14 at 7:00 p.m. on CSN.
Here is today's matchup...
No. 7 GUS JOHNSON vs. No. 10 GILBERT ARENAS
Years with franchise: 9
Stats: 17.5 ppg, 12.9 rpg, 2.7 apg, 44.1 FG%
Accolades: Hall of Famer, 5-time All-Star, 4-time All-NBA, 2-time All-Defense, All-Rookie
Summary: The Bullets had quite a run in the NBA Draft back in the 1960s, selecting several Hall of Famers including Wes Unseld, Earl Monroe and Walt Bellamy. That's not to mention the Hall of Fame coaches they picked that decade: Jerry Sloan, Larry Brown and Don Nelson. One of those Hall of Fame players was forward Gus Johnson, who joined them as a second round pick in 1963. Johnson found success immediately, averaging 17.3 points and 13.6 rebounds as a rookie.
A dominant rebounder for nearly a decade in the NBA, Johnson teamed with Monroe and Unseld to reach the playoffs six times, including the NBA Finals in 1970-71. Johnson was known for his leaping ability as one of the NBA's best dunkers in his time. Injuries ultimately led to his demise in Washington. He was traded to the Suns in 1972 and soon after was out of the league entirely.
Years with franchise: 8
Stats: 25.0 ppg, 5.7 apg, 4.2 rpg, 1.8 spg, 0.3 bpg, 42.2 FG%, 35.7 3PT%
Accolades: 3-time All-Star, 3-time All-NBA
Summary: The Wizards swooped in to sign Arenas in free agency at the absolute perfect time. He was a second round pick and had played just two seasons for the Golden State Warriors, his last earning him the NBA's Most Improved Player award after he averaged 18.3 points per game in his Age 21 season. Then, at 22 he joined the Wizards and soon turned into one of the very best scorers in the NBA. By the time he was 24, Arenas was averaging close to 30 points per game and lighting up the league as a true superstar known specifically for his ability to hit buzzer-beating shots from long distance before Stephen Curry made it commonplace.
Arenas made the All-NBA team three times during his prime and helped lead the Wizards to four straight playoff appearances. The peak was the first playoff run when Arenas beat the Bulls with a buzzer-beater and they reached the second round for the first time as a franchise in 23 years. Arenas was a well-rounded offensive force with the ability to hit shots from long range and make defenders respect him with a lightning-quick first step. He had the strength to finish around the rim and was a master at getting to the free throw line. Unfortunately, his best days were short-lived. After suffering a knee injury against Charlotte in April of 2007, he was never the same again. Off-the-court problems then led to his demise in Washington. Arenas' run was fun while it lasted and will make a great ESPN 30-for-30 someday due to the extreme highs and lows during his time in D.C.