Houston Rockets: 30 Greatest players in franchise history

By Ben Beecken
Houston Rockets Hakeem Olajuwon, Kenny Smith, Robert Horry, Vernon Maxwell, Otis Thorpe (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
Houston Rockets Hakeem Olajuwon, Kenny Smith, Robert Horry, Vernon Maxwell, Otis Thorpe (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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Houston Rockets Trevor Ariza (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Houston Rockets Trevor Ariza (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /

Trevor Ariza. 23. 169. . . Small Forward


  • Five seasons with the Rockets (2009-10, 2014-18)

  • Averaged 12.7 points and 5.2 rebounds per game

Trevor Ariza has enjoyed two stints with the Rockets, with the most recent one ending with a run to the Western Conference Finals.

Ariza was drafted as a 19-year-old out of UCLA by the New York Knicks in 2004 and was traded to the Orlando Magic during his second year as a pro. After a year-plus with the Magic, he was shipped to the Los Angeles Lakers in exchange for Brian Cook and Maurice Evans.

Ariza was a key player on the 57-win Lakers team that lost to the Boston Celtics in the 2008 Finals and a part-time starter who appeared in all 82 games for the 65-win team that won the 2009 NBA Finals over Dwight Howard and the Magic.

The former Laker signed with Houston in the offseason and scored a career-high 14.9 points per game with the Rockets in 2009-10, his age-24 season. He only shot 39.4 percent from the floor and 33.4 percent from 3-point range, however, and was shipped to the then-New Orleans Hornets via trade in the following offseason.

Over two years with the Hornets and two years with the Washington Wizards, Ariza re-made himself into a true “3-and-D” player, shooting 39.4 percent from beyond the arc in Washington. He was traded back to the Rockets as part of a three-team deal in the summer of 2014 and spent the following four years in Houston.

Ariza was remarkably durable and effective during his second stint with the Rockets, playing 80 or more games in the first three seasons of the span. The team was good, too, reaching the playoffs all four years, including the conference finals in both 2015 and 2018, and the second round in 2017.

Ariza signed with the Phoenix Suns in free agency in 2018 and has since been traded back to the Wizards, as he attempts to help Washington return to the playoffs.

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