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Ariza returns to the nation's capital
On Monday, the Wizards officially acquired forward Trevor Ariza from the Phoenix Suns in exchange for forward Kelly Oubre Jr. and guard Austin Rivers.
Ariza, 33, returns to the nation’s capital after playing two seasons for the Wizards from 2012-2014. The 6’8” forward out of UCLA had the best statistical season of his career with the Wizards in 2013-14, averaging 14.4 points and 6.2 rebounds per game while shooting 45.6% from the field and a career-high 40.7% from deep.
Known as one of the league’s top ‘3-and-D’ players, Ariza blossomed with the Wizards before playing four seasons with the Rockets and part of this year in Phoenix. This season with the Suns, Ariza is shooting 38.7% on catch-and-shoot 3-pointers, which can only help a Wizards team shooting 34.4% on catch-and-shoot 3-point opportunities. He’s also shooting 40.0% on corner triples this year, something he mastered alongside John Wall during his time with the Wizards. According to Second Spectrum, Klay Thompson is the only player to make more corner 3-pointers than Ariza over the past five seasons.
Presumably adding Ariza to the starting lineup will give the Wizards even more shooting alongside one of the NBA’s best passers in Wall. Bradley Beal and Otto Porter Jr. are already two of the top shooters in the league, and Ariza will give Wall another option.
Ariza became a signature stopper alongside James Harden and later Chris Paul. Ariza can guard multiple positions and is used to switching on defense like the Wizards do. The Rockets were only one game away from the NBA Finals last season, much with the help of Ariza’s lockdown defense and 3-point shooting.
Ariza also won a championship during his time with the Lakers; he knows what it takes to win and compete day in and day out. During his career, Ariza has been a glue guy on and off the court at almost every stop, whether he’s started or come off the bench.
“I think it’s just great,” Wall said of getting Ariza back. “Especially a guy that won a championship. You get more from what he understands and what it takes.”
“With Trevor, he’s a guy that he understands his role. Come in as the glue guy. That’s kind of what you need with these certain teams.”
Ariza will bring veteran leadership to a locker room that has been searching for answers. He has a great relationship with Wall and Beal, serving as a mentor for both of them during his two seasons in Washington. The Wizards have started off slow, but they believe Ariza’s presence will help turn this season around and help the team reach its potential.
“He’s vocal. He’s not afraid to voice his opinion and call guys out,” Beal said of Ariza. “Hold them accountable. I think he’s a presence we needed. A challenge we need as well.”