February 23, 2013; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Wizards small forward Trevor Ariza (1) celebrates after the Wizards

Trevor Ariza Is Ready To Contribute Next Season

Mar 22, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Washington Wizards small forward Trevor Ariza (1) guards Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Kobe Bryant (24) on a last second pass in the fourth quarter of the game at the Staples Center. Wizards won 103-100. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

For the first time in a very long time, the Washington Wizards seem destined and determined to make a playoff push for this upcoming season. Coaches and players alike have expressed a deep desire to win and that includes Trevor Ariza, who the Wizards acquired in a trade with the New Orleans Hornets over a year ago.

I’m going to compete. That’s what you’re going to get from me — competition, Ariza said. I’ve done throughout my whole career. Just go out there and play. Not any particular position, just whatever the coaches ask of me, I try to do

via Michael Lee of the Washington Post

After starting rookie Chris Singleton throughout the majority of the 2011-2012 season, the Wizards were desperately seeking a starting caliber forward, and eventually got one in Ariza. Fast forward one year, and the Wizards have got three small forwards on their roster, all presumably capable of starting. Martell Webster has since taken over Ariza’s spot in the starting lineup, forcing Ariza to come off the bench in an unlikely situation. Washington has drafted Georgetown’s Otto Porter Jr. in this year’s NBA draft, who also plays the same position as Ariza. But unlike the past cast of characters the Wizards are used to, Trevor Ariza didn’t make much of the role change and is still willing to contribute with hopes of helping the team win.

Despite losing his starting spot to Martell Webster, who’s coming off a remarkable shooting season, Trevor Ariza still has a lot he could bring to the table. At 28 years old, Ariza is who he is and won’t improve drastically in many of the glaring weaknesses in his game. Ariza isn’t a great ball handler, nor could he effectively create for himself, but with John Wall and Bradley Beal on the floor, Ariza is still very much a contributing player on the roster. After the NBA All-Star break, Trevor Ariza shot nearly 42% from beyond the three point arc, largely due to the spot up corner shooting and John Wall’s ability to distribute the ball. Since the Wizards were the worst offensive team in the league last season, a large part of their offense came from John Wall penetrating the basket and kicking the ball out to the three point shooter. Wall’s blazing speed hardly goes unnoticed, and since opposing teams often collapse multiple defenders to cut Wall off from the basket, Ariza did a great job finding the open spaces in the corner.

Ariza is still the best perimeter defender on Washington’s roster, which is probably a trait that is often undervalued by those which have followed the Wizards throughout this past season. Even though the trade which brought Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza didn’t make much sense financially, the two veteran players certainly helped the Wizards improve drastically from a defensive standpoint.

As the season comes closer, I’m sure Trevor Ariza will have a more concrete role with the team. At this point in time, Washington does have to find a way to get minutes for all three of their small forwards, including rookie Otto Porter. Despite Ariza’s unappreciated contributions which often go unnoticed, he still remains one of the only tradeable assets on Washington’s roster. If the Wizards decide to make a deal, Ariza is likely the only player worth acquiring, especially since he has just one year left on his contract.

When asked about his role with the Wizards for this upcoming season, Ariza didn’t have much to say besides; “That’s not for me to decide. I just play.”

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