At times Washington Wizards‘ swingman Trevor Ariza has been overvalued in his NBA career.
This does not appear to be one of those times.
The 28-year old Ariza is averaging 14.1 points, 61 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.9 steals per game. He’s shooting 44.0% from the field, 38.8% from beyond the arc and 76.9% from the free throw line, all above his career averages.
Plus, the Wizards have fallen in love with the way he has defended opposing wings and the effort he consistently brings to the court.
“One thing that Trevor has brought to me, and helped me out as much is, that extra effort,” Wizards’ All-Star point guard John Wall said. “If you gamble [defensively] and don’t get it, the extra effort to get back into the play. I think Coach lets us get by once or twice in a game if we’re willing to come back and contest [shots], and that’s something I learned from Trevor.”
However, according to David Aldridge of NBA.com, the Wizards may not hang on to Ariza because they simply can’t afford it.
But they can’t pay Ariza, who also pines to return to the West coast, what he’ll likely ask for as a free agent. Ariza recently hired Rob Pelinka as his agent, a man not known for taking 70 cents on the dollar. It’s a tough, tough call for a team that desperately needed a perimeter defender like Ariza. Yet if the Wizards let both Ariza and Gortat walk in July, they’d have enough cap room to go after a major free agent to pair with Wall, Beal, Nene and first-rounder Otto Porter, Jr., for at least two years.
The Wizards are 25-25 and currently in third place in the Eastern Conference.