Trevor Ariza is one of my favorite players in the National Basketball Association (NBA), I wanted to start with that. I truly believe that at a mere 20 years of age, Trevor Ariza has endured an interesting and complex basketball career. At this point and time, many Orlando Magic fans do not know the details in regards to Trevor Ariza. This article will take you through his time with the UCLA Bruins and the New York Knicks, as well as provide you with some of my personal thoughts and analysis on this young, emerging star, and why you should like him.
Trevor Ariza only stayed at UCLA for his freshman season. Putting things in a quick perspective will show that Trevor could, and should have been the starting small forward for this year’s Sweet 16 Bruins. Not only would he be starting there, but he would be flourishing! Either way, Trevor Ariza’s freshman year statistics were a nice preview of what we could expect from Trevor in the NBA.
Immediately you can see that Trevor was the type of player who liked to do a little bit everything. Evidence of his well-rounded game is the scoring 11 points, grabbing 6.5 rebounds, and dishing 2 assists a game his freshman year. At 6’8”, Trevor Ariza is able to utilize his athletic ability and his hard working nature in order to make plays happen; the type of plays that are seen on the stat sheet, and the ones not seen on the stat sheet. Taking a deeper look into his stats, one can see the alarmingly low percentages Trevor shot from the three point line, as well as the charity stripe. At 24% from three, and 50% from the free throw line, it was clear that Trevor had to develop a consistent, and realistic jump shot in the pros.
On draft night in 2004, the New York Knicks drafted Trevor Ariza, and so began my love affair with the youngster from California. As a New York Knick, Trevor Ariza was the typical spark plug off the bench. I don’t think anyone in the world can question Trevor’s energy when it came to the courts. He would dive after every ball, and in general, give everything he had every night. More often than not, Trevor Ariza would truly provide some sort of spark with electrifying dunks. Trevor was fearless attacking the rim, and that — mixed with his hard work and leaping ability — provided the Garden with some highlight reels. Now while everything sounds all gravy, Trevor still possessed the dreaded jump shot. He would consistently air ball one jump shot, and then make the next.
His inconsistency from anywhere outside of 12 feet made the opposing team dare Trevor to either shoot or dribble drive. This was the downfall for Trevor in my eyes. Not only could Trevor miss every shot from the outside, he could not dribble if his life depended on it. During the tail end of his rookie campaign, Trevor simply became a non-factor on the offensive side of the ball. Trevor Ariza’s rookie season came to an end with a mix of doubt and hope. Trevor had some serious problems with the fundamentals, and now the Knicks were bringing in Larry Brown to be the next head coach.
While some actually took this as a positive, I saw this as the end of the Trevor Ariza era in New York. Larry Brown hates youngsters, period. Larry Brown hates youngsters that can’t control the ball, and make the necessary open shots. See where I am going with this? You can easily assume what went down during the course of this season, and see why Trevor Ariza was shipped out to Orlando.
The Orlando Magic have picked up a 20-year-old athletic freak. This kid attended a nice college in UCLA, received some playing experience in New York, and has learned under a hall of fame coach. When all of these factors are put into effect, Trevor Ariza and the Orlando Magic have both made out here. Hopefully the Magic will be patient; the organization has to understand that Trevor has the tools and the mindset to be a successful NBA starter.
If I were the coaching staff, I would have Trevor solely focus on dribbling the basketball and shooting mid range jump shots. His defense could use some work, but his natural ability, and his size provides him with a solid foundation to become a nice defensemen rather easily. Magic fans, understand that Trevor will not flourish immediately; Trevor will occasionally bring the house down with a nice dunk, and then dribble the ball of his feet.
All I ask of you is to appreciate the fact that all you gave up for Trevor Ariza is that cancer Steve Francis. Aren’t you happy that disaster is gone?