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2010-11 Season in Review: Trevor Ariza
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Hornets.com, @Jim_Eichenhofer
June 20, 2011

Hornets.com continues its look back at the 2010-11 season with player-by-player analysis of the team:

WHAT HAPPENED:

Following a disappointing 37-45 record in 2009-10, the Hornets brand-new front office shook up the roster with several trades during the summer of 2010. The most significant trade acquisition was Ariza, who came to New Orleans via a complicated, four-team trade that sent Darren Collison and James Posey to Indiana.

By his own account, Arizas debut season with the Hornets consisted of plenty of highs and lows. From a team standpoint, the athletic 6-foot-8, 210-pound small forward made his largest impact on the defensive end. Ariza was perhaps the biggest reason New Orleans was able to make a substantial improvement from 21st in the NBA in defensive efficiency to 10th.

Hes a good defender, hes long, hes athletic and he can make jump shots and finish in transition, Hornets general manager Dell Demps assessed. He provided us with something we did not have. Every night we put him on the other teams best player, and sometimes multiple players. When we play Miami, he goes from (guarding Dwyane) Wade to LeBron (James) and back to Wade. Against Dallas, he went from Jason Terry to Dirk Nowitzki. Hes a versatile defender. You know, we were worried about him sometimes because were asking him to do so much on the defensive end. He accepts the challenge, and thats been big.

On offense, the UCLA product often had difficulty locating his shooting touch throughout the regular season, finishing around 40 percent from the field, 30 percent from three-point range and 70 percent from the foul line. The latter of those three categories was actually approaching a career-best for Ariza, but the first two continued a downward trend from his previous year with Houston.

It had its ups and downs, Ariza described of his individual play. It was an adjustment for me. I struggled a little bit. But I think that it takes time to figure things out (on a new team with a new head coach). Ive had a full year under (Monty Williams) now, so I know what to expect and what to work on and how to make myself better.

As difficult as Arizas regular season was offensively, he was that good for much of the playoff series vs. the two-time defending NBA champion Lakers. Facing several former teammates, Ariza increased his scoring average to 15.5 points over the six games, while upping his other key contributions to 6.5 rebounds and 3.3 assists. After a rough Game 1, he tallied double-figure scoring in every game, topped by his 22 points in Game 5 (including five three-pointers).

After David Wests season-ending knee injury led to New Orleans finishing 5-5 down the stretch of the 82-game schedule, Arizas stellar individual performance helped put a scare into the Lakers. We didnt end the regular season the way we wanted to, but we did all we could and fought as hard as we could, Ariza said of the close to 2010-11. We came up short.

BEST GAME:

In Game 4 of the playoffs, Ariza set the tone for an aggressive Hornets performance against the Lakers by scoring 12 points in the first quarter, tallying several buckets on fearless drives to the hoop. The most experienced playoff performer on New Orleans roster finished the 93-88 victory with 19 points and six rebounds, helping the Hornets tie the series at two games apiece.

WHAT'S NEXT:

Based on the five-year contract he signed with Houston during the summer of 2009, Ariza still has at least two years remaining on his deal, with a player option in 2013-14. Not including 2011 player options, Ariza was one of only five Hornets under contract for next season. I think what we should do is just work on our games and do what we can individually to make this team better, Ariza said when asked about his summer plan. We have good management and great coaches. Im sure theyll be making all of those decisions (on changes). We just have to be ready to play.


ADDITIONAL 2010-11 SEASON IN REVIEWS
DAVID WEST AARON GRAY EMEKA OKAFOR
QUINCY PONDEXTER CARL LANDRY CHRIS PAUL
JARRETT JACK JASON SMITH TREVOR ARIZA
MARCO BELINELLI WILLIE GREEN




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