SF Trevor Ariza had one of his most productive seasons with the Washington Wizards last year. He displayed his ability to play on both sides of the court, and was often called upon to guard the other team’s best player. He is now in his prime, and has familiarity in playing with the Los Angeles Lakers. The team needs an upgrade on the wing, and should convince Ariza to come back to his hometown.
Ariza was instrumental in Kobe Bryant’s fourth championship, coming up with timely plays on defense and offense. He nailed a number of three-pointers, making teams pay for leaving him open. He was the x-factor in several of the series, and proved to be an emerging player in the league. However, he decided to accept a contract elsewhere, and hasn’t enjoyed as much success until the past year.
He will turn 29 this summer, and still has a number of good years ahead of him. He is an excellent defender who has a knack for getting steals at the right time. He shot over 40 percent from deep last year, and averaged over six rebounds a game from the small forward position. He moves extremely well off the ball, and has experience playing with Bryant. He would also fit perfectly with Steve Nash, if Nash decides to return for another season. His shooting and slashing ability make him a threat in any offense.
Ariza has many intangibles that are vital for teams to be competitive and win. He has an innate sense for tracking down important rebounds, especially on the offensive glass. He isn’t afraid to guard star players, and frustrates them with his athleticism and long arms. He seems to get the majority of loose balls, and just knows the right spots to be on the court, especially when he is playing next to veterans. He also tends to make momentum-changing plays with his hustle and highlight dunks.
Ariza represents a cheaper option than the majority of the more well-known small forwards in the free-agent class, and has experience playing in Los Angeles. He grew up in the city, and would likely be willing to come back for the right price. He has a lot to offer the Lakers, and would be a step in the right direction for the team. The Lakers should make signing him a priority in the offseason.