Sep 29, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets forward Trevor Ariza (1) poses for a photo during media day at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
With training camp having started this week, the Houston Rockets are gearing up for the 2015-2016 NBA season. After losing to the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference Finals, the Rockets hope to improve upon their previous season’s success by making it to the NBA finals, and then winning the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy.
From top to bottom, the Rockets will need every player on the team to make significant contributions, beginning with their starters. With the usual buzz around Rockets superstars James Harden and Dwight Howard, the competition between Patrick Beverley and Ty Lawson, and the injury to Donatas Motiejunas, Rockets starting forward Trevor Ariza is perhaps the least talked about of all the Rockets starting five.
Having won a championship with the Los Angeles Lakers, Trevor Ariza brings veteran experience to the Rockets roster. Known as a defensive specialist, Ariza’s greatest contribution to the Rockets involves guarding the opposing team’s best wing player. On the offensive end of the ball, he accomplishes what the Rockets expect of him in knocking down spot-up three pointers.
What I admire most about Ariza, though, is his quiet leadership. It was Ariza who gave the speech that motivated the Rockets to comeback during game 6 of the Western Conference Semifinals. It was Ariza who picked up a mourning Harden after the superstar had blown a go ahead attempt in the closing seconds of the Rockets’ game two loss in the Western Conference Finals. And it is Ariza who always does the little things his team asks of him, sacrificing individual glory for team success. A year after acquiring Ariza in order to replace Chandler Parsons— a move that most people criticized– Rockets fan can look back and realize that Ariza was the better fit for the Rockets.
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