The Houston Rockets recently added Trevor Ariza, who last played for the Washington Wizards last season. After failing to match Chandler Parsons‘ offer sheet with the Dallas Mavericks, the Rockets went on to overpay the most overrated free agent of the 2014 NBA free agency period. Ariza will replace Parsons in the starting lineup this upcoming season, joining Houston on a four-year contract worth $32 million.
Before listing his clear deficiencies, credit must be given to Ariza who had a career year with the Wizards last season. His production helped a young Washington team lock up the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference and make the second round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs. During the regular season, Ariza shot a career high from behind the arc (40.7 percent) and tallied a career high in rebounds (6.2). However, looking at his previous statistics, these numbers are inflated because Ariza was playing in a contract year.
Certainly, Ariza’s numbers in his first stint with Houston are impressive, tallying averages of 14.9 points, 5.6 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game. These numbers are an outlier compared to any other year in his career, however, most likely due to the high quantity of possessions Houston had and Ariza’s clear inefficiencies that season. The Rockets were the sixth-fastest paced team in the NBA in the 2009-10 season, meaning Ariza had more chances to score. Couple that with the fact that he shot 39.4 percent from the field that season, and his scoring average is really not all that impressive. His career high in assists that year most likely had to do with this high pace as well, because Ariza has never come close to that number in any other season in his career.
Ariza’s season in Houston is not the only season that he has shot horribly from the floor. Before his contract year of last season, he shot less than 41.7 percent from the field four seasons in a row. Clearly, his 45.6 field goal percentage from this past season is a massive outlier compared to his recent percentages.
Additionally, Ariza has never really been a respectable three-point threat. Before his two-year stint with the Wizards, Ariza was a 30.9 percent three-point shooter. Ariza shot 39.3 percent from behind the arc with Washington, but he will have to show that this production was not an aberration in the seasons to come.
Clearly throwing $32 million at Ariza, a perimeter player who has averaged only 9.7 points per game and shot 43.4 percent from the field, is idiotic. Do not be surprised when the Rockets shop Ariza’s contract in the near future after his production falls back to what it was before his contract year.