Apr 8, 2015; San Antonio, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs small forward Kawhi Leonard (2) is defended by Houston Rockets small forward Trevor Ariza (1) during the second half at AT&T Center. The Spurs won 110-98. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
With Ariza and Howard in the starting lineup, the Rockets should be one of the better defensive teams in the league. Last season marked Ariza’s career high in steals per game. Among small forwards last season, Ariza ranked 2nd in steals, and 11th in rebounds. Ariza’s role on the team is as important as anyone’s, seeing as the Rockets rely on him to guard superstars like LeBron and Durant. Night in and night out, Ariza makes it his priority to deliver unmatched effort on the defensive end.
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Last season Ariza made more three pointers than any other small forward in the league. That being said, he also shot more threes than any other small forward. During the regular season his three-point field goal percentage was decent at about 35%. During the playoffs, however, Ariza brought that number up to a more impressive 37.5%.
Ariza does everything that is asked of him, and in doing so sets an example for the rest of his teammates. Role players fill the majority of an NBA roster, and teams often run into trouble when role players try to do too much. Ariza is able to strike the perfect chord when it comes to workload. Incoming rookies, and players trying to crack the rotation should look towards Ariza as an example of professionalism at its finest. In doing all of the little things, Ariza makes himself one of the Rockets most important players.
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