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Unusual Scouting Tool Aids Arizas Improvement
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Hornets.com


January 26, 2010

The tried-and-true remedy for a player whos slumping on offense is simple: Spend a few hours in the practice gym, in an effort to hone your jump shot. When Monty Williams watched Trevor Arizas field-goal percentage dip to a career-low in the first two months of this season, however, Williams relied on a resource thats not exactly a conventional coaching tool: YouTube videos.

As a five-year Portland Trail Blazers assistant coach, Williams had faced Arizas Lakers and Rockets teams countless times over the previous half-decade. During the early portion of 2010-11, New Orleans first-year head coach noticed that the 6-foot-8 starting small forward wasnt driving to the basket as frequently as he had with Los Angeles and Houston.

So Williams decided to sit down with Ariza and queue up a few of the best individual highlights the seven-year pro has generated in the NBA. Many of the YouTube clips showed the UCLA product dribbling through the lane and dunking on 7-footers, or finishing fast breaks with high-flying layups or slams.

I showed him some clips of how he attacks the basket and some of the things I liked about his game, Williams explained. (Perimeter) shooting can be up and down in this league, and you cant do anything about that. But you can take advantage of attacking the basket, running the floor in transition, and I hadnt seen that as much as what I wouldve liked to from Trevor. Hes made an effort to do that lately.

Shortly after the YouTube session, Ariza put the video reminder into action, producing one of the best highlights by any NBA player during the first half of the regular season. In a game at Washington on New Years Day, the 25-year-old threw a vicious right-handed dunk over 7-foot Wizards center JaVale McGee.

If you go to YouTube and check out some of his dunks on guys, that was one of those you could fit into the YouTube script, Williams said.

In a recent 10-game stretch, Ariza shot 49.0 percent from the field. Prior to that, from opening night through Christmas, he was at just 36.1 percent.

Guys go through these kinds of segments in their career, Williams said. I know he wants to play better on the offensive end, and he works on his game. Guys who work usually have a quick turnaround.



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