Jeremy Hyman | WashingtonWizards.com
Stats: 9.5 PPG | 4.8 RPG | 2.0 APG | 1.29 SPG | .417 FG%
IMPACT ON THE TEAM
In June of 2012, the Wizards acquired Trevor Ariza in a trade that sent Rashard Lewis to New Orleans for both Ariza and Emeka Okafor.
Ariza was coming off a season in which he played 41 games for the Hornets due to ankle and groin injuries, but was productive when he was on the court. He averaged 10.8 points and 5.2 rebounds in 32.9 minutes per game in 2011-12.
While Ariza has put up adequate offensive numbers throughout his career, he was better known for being a top-level perimeter defender, which he was often counted on last season for the Wizards.
It was Ariza who many times took on the task of guarding the opposing team's best scorer, which was something he had be accustomed to doing over the course of his career.
He began the season as a starter, but would shift into more of a sixth man role as the season progressed. Out of the 56 games he played in, he started 15 of them, with 13 of those starts coming prior to December 5th.
At one point during the season when asked about his role, Ariza said he considered himself the sixth starter on the team. He wasn't shy about stating the fact that he would like to be a starter, but made it clear that he wanted to help this team any way he could and if that meant coming off the bench then he would willfully do so.
Even though he wasn't technically a starter, Ariza played valuable minutes for this team and was a big reason why they started winning games in the second half of the season.
In the month of March, Ariza scored a season-high 26 points in a home win over Charlotte and then added 25 points (including 7 made threes) in L.A., helping to take down the Lakers at Staples Center.
The biggest improvement for Ariza last season was his three-point field goal percentage, which shot up to 36.4 %. He is a career 32.5 % 3-point shooter and prior to last season, the highest percentage he ever shot was 33.4%. He did that in 2009-10 in Houston, which was the best year of his career.
Ariza became a dependable role player for the Wizards and would play either the "2", "3", or "4" positions depending on what kind of lineup head coach Randy Wittman wanted to use. His versatility and ability to defend multiple positions can't be overstated as he gave the team many options to use in order to matchup with the opposition.
His 1.29 steals per game was good for second on the team, trailing only John Wall's 1.33, who did so playing about seven more minutes per game. But it was not only the steals Ariza would create, but also the deflections he would cause due to his length and getting into the passing lanes. He was constantly disrupting opposing offenses by knowing angles and forcing players into undesired spots. The combination of his length and agility made him an elite defender and one the Wizards heavily relied upon.
Besides being an asset on the court, Ariza also played a big role in the community. Most notably around the holidays when he hosted a Thanksgiving Day Assist Program, where he gave turkeys and other food items to over 200 families at The Grace Calloway Food Ministry in Washington D.C.
Ariza picked up his player option for this upcoming season and unless traded, will be a big part of this team in 2013-14. The Wizards are in a good position because they have a lot of depth at this wing position (Porter, Webster, Harrington, Singleton, Vesely) which could make Ariza expendable if the right deal is out there. If not, Ariza will again play a big role for the Wizards as a sixth man, probably getting about 25-28 minutes a game. He's a veteran who knows the business well and will play whatever role the team asks of him, which makes him an asset to have. This is the last year on his current contract and beyond this season nobody knows what will happen. But you can certainly rely on another solid campaign out of Trevor Ariza in 2013-14.