Mike Conley names Gilbert Arenas as toughest matchup he’s ever had in NBA career

Jesse Cinquini
3 Min Read
Christopher Creveling-USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota Timberwolves point guard Mike Conley has played against numerous star point guards during his pro career, such as Stephen Curry, Russell Westbrook and Chris Paul, among others. But Conley recently named former Washington Wizards star Gilbert Arenas as the toughest matchup he’s ever had.

“Man, probably my earlier days, Gilbert Arenas,” Conley said when asked who his toughest matchup was. “He was a real problem, man. Super physical and super athletic and skilled. So he was probably the first one I think about.”

Arenas, 41, was selected with the No. 31 overall pick in the 2001 NBA Draft and played for four NBA franchises — the Wizards, Golden State Warriors, Orlando Magic and Memphis Grizzlies — during his 11 years in the pros.

But Arenas is best known for his time with Washington, as he was named to three All-Star teams and three All-NBA teams as a Wizard and averaged 25.0 points, 5.7 assists, 4.2 rebounds and 1.8 steals per game across 357 total regular-season games with the franchise (341 starts).

Arguably Arenas’ best year as a Wizard came during the 2005-06 season when he led the team to the fifth-best record in the Eastern Conference and averaged a career-high 29.3 points per game during the regular season while shooting 44.7 percent from the field and 36.9 percent from behind the three-point arc.

The last season of Arenas’ impressive NBA career was the 2011-12 season when he was a member of the Grizzlies. It was a very forgettable stint, as Arenas was no longer the star player he was during his Wizards days. Arenas averaged just 4.1 points and 1.1 assists per game in 17 regular-season appearances off the Memphis bench.

Conley may have played against more accomplished point guards over the course of his 16-year NBA career, but when Arenas was at his peak, he was one of the best point guards in the league and should be remembered as one of the best scoring guards of his generation.

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Jesse is an aspiring sports journalist that has previously worked as a staff writer at SB Nation’s CelticsBlog and The Knicks Wall.