Trevor Ariza is something of an iron man having played in all but 1 game in his two season with the Houston Rockets. His highlight package showcases the multi-faceted tools he brings to the court.
Entering his third season with the Houston Rockets Trevor Ariza has been the best 2-way player on the squad. For some, there are questions of his overall production, but given the lack of defense and poor offensive production Ariza has arguably been the second best player to James Harden in back to back seasons.
Two seasons ago he and Donatas Motiejunas were ostensibly the tandem who helped Houston endure their early health issues. This past season though the Rockets regressed a look as Ariza’s production shows he improved in many categories.
In the 2015-16 season Ariza’s stat line read: 12.7 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 2.0 steals per game. His shooting is where the improvements shined as he shot 37.1% from the perimeter and 41.6 from the field, both improvements over the previous year.
There was some regression defensively, but in fairness Ariza was often tasked with guarding the elite star on the opposition, and regularly had to try to recover for teammates mistakes. The defensive plus/minus box demonstrates this regression as he fell from plus +1.3 to plus +0.3 this season. In fact Ariza was the only Rocket who finished the season with a plus margin in both offense and defense and one of only 3 players with a positive effect defensively (Howard, Capela). His offensive plus/minus box score improved from +0.6 the year prior to +1.2 this season.
Ariza scored in double digits 53 times, had 5 or more rebounds on 39 occasions, had at least one steal in 68 of 81 games and 3 or more in 29 games.
There are several games to select from in terms of his top performances in 2015-16 with some showcasing scoring, others a full repertoire of stats and others complete 2-way games. The following are the games highlighting those stand out performances:
Ariza’s highest scoring game of the season came January 25th versus the New Orleans Pelicans when he broke the 30 point barrier scoring 31 points along with 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals and 1 block. Trevor also connected on 8 three pointers in this match:
Another game which showcased Ariza’s tool box of tricks came on February 29th facing the Milwaukee Bucks. His stat line at the end of the night boasted 20 points, had 8 rebounds, 11 assists, 2 steals, hit 4 three pointers in 7 attempts and finished with a plus/minus of plus 10.
Ariza’s best 2-way game came on February 19th versus the Phoenix Suns when he scored 25 points, had 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 5 steals, hit 4 three pointers in 7 attempts and finished with a plus/minus of plus +40.
Moving forward Ariza offers much for Mike D’Antoni’s system since he provides 2-way skills, can hit the three, will have more space to operate in with the additions of Ryan Anderson and Eric Gordon as well as play makers to get him open shots. The issue will be defensively as again he’ll likely be tasked with the primary defensive assignment.
The one question mark that puzzles is the rumored trade Morey tried to make which would have sent Ariza and Beverley to Philly for Nerlens Noel. If that was a real thing one wonders if Ariza’s stock is as high as it should be in H-Town.
That said, conceivably the most interesting line-up could feature Anderson moving to the 5 with Ariza at the 4, Dekker or Beasley at the 3, while Harden and Gordon occupy the back court. This 5 man unit would offer plenty of offense, but the question would be how they would deal defensively. Or the Rockets could go super small by inserting Beverley at the point, Gordon at the SG, and move Harden to SF.
Regardless of where Ariza fits in the new system, suffice to say he’ll have a pivotal role on both ends of the court.
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