Why you should appreciate Ariza
This play from Friday’s game against the Wolves just stuck in my head.Â Maybe two months ago, I was on the Podcast saying I was done with Ariza.Â This play is a perfect example, however, of why I should have swallowed my tongue, and appreciated our starting small forward.
Ariza is theÂ guy who chases Beasley to the side of the court near the bench,(top of your screen) then defends him during the high-scoring forward’s foray to the hoop:
“Wait,” you say, “That’s terrible! He just let Beasley get an easy layup! What stupid sort of blog is this!?”
Here’s the thing, though:Â Â Watch Ariza’s reaction to the layup. Go on, watch itÂ Â Â .Â Â .Â Â .Â Â Â He’s disappointed in himself, right? Upset? Then, absorb the context:
The Hornets are up 18 with 5 minutes to go. To that point in the game,Â Ariza hasÂ crushed Beasley, holding himÂ to 3-15 shooting forÂ 6 points, zero free throw attemptsÂ and 5 turnovers.Â Â Â Â Most players, they’re satisfied and looking ahead to the end of the game.Â Â Ariza isn’t, he’s still locked in defensively. I love that.
What do you think?
These guys play games within the game. As long as he loves playing his game, and does well overall, Ariza will have a place on this team.
Now watch that video again, but imagine Peja is out defending him. Or Posey. Or MoPete. And that's why I love Ariza on this team.
Looks like Bad D by Ariza on that play but is it solely Ariza's fault there? I don't think so. Gray should have done better helping his teammate! Anyway, but I like Ariza's hunger for more, for doing better, for being a better player. They showed him on the screen when he went to bench with his 6 pt, 5 reb, 4 ast, 1 stl stats at the end of the Clippers game and he was shaking his head showing his disappointment. So, clearly, this guy wants to be better and I like that. With his defensive skills, He can easily be a Bruce Bowen/Doug Christie type of guy but clearly he wants more than that! And I like that! To be honest, I was disappointed with his poor shooting, whether behind the arc or at the charity stripe. He was improved in the month of January and I hope this shooting slump in February is because of his injury. I cannot wait to see Ariza maintain and improve his January stats (%45 FG, %39 3PT, %71 FT) Our Hornets crave for that offensive punch from the wings and with Thornton gone if Ariza can provide that night in and night out (in addition to his solid defensive play), I'd love it. Geaux Hornets!
Exactly! That is exactly what I mean by a focused Ariza. If he sets his mind to it, there isn't too many perimeter defenders better than him.