Ariza is 6'8, 210 pounds, 22 years old, 4th NBA Season. He plays primarily Small Forward, but is sometimes asked to guard Shooting Guards and occasionally Point Guards. He lacks an outside game, but is lethal, athletic, and explosive inside despite a slender frame.
Length, defense, dunking, getting to the rim, athleticism, rebounding
Outside shot, FT shooting, triangle experience, bulk
Ball handling, B-ball IQ
In 205 career games, Ariza has averaged 6.2 points per game (in about 18.5 mpg). Ariza has recorded 50 double-digit games. This includes 18 as a rookie, 7 in his second season, 23 in his third season, and two this season. An average of the top 30 players at a position in the NBA yields a PPG average that I consider to represent "competent" scoring. For a wing man like Ariza, that number is around 17. Ariza has achieved scoring competence in 9 of his career games, including two as a rookie and seven last season. I consider him to be adequate, but by no means a dynamic, scorer.
Ariza averages 1.1 assists per game. He has recorded 5 assists or more just 4 times in his career and not in the past two seasons. I consider him to be a slightly below average passer for a wing man.
Ariza averages 1.3 offensive and 2.3 defensive boards per game, for a career average of 3.6. He is more than competent as a rebounder, as he has met the competence mark (6 boards) 40 times in his career (11 as a rookie, 11 as a sophomore, 17 last season, and once this year) and has reached the level of dominance (9+ boards) on 9 occasions, including 3 in each of his first two seasons, twice last year, and once in this young season. Ariza is a very good rebounder for a Small Forward.
He has averaged 0.9 steals per game. He has recorded 14 career 3+ steal games, including 4 as a rookie, 4 as a sophomore, 6 last season. I consider Ariza a very competent ball thief.
Ariza is touted as a solid defender. He forces turnovers, has great length, and often guards opposing teams' best scorers. He has, in this young season, covered LeBron James, Kevin Durant, both Grant Hill and Steve Nash, and Peja Stojakovich.
In 2004/05 for New York, Ariza held opposing SFs to 15.2 PER. They shot 49% eFG, scored 17.8 points per 48 minutes. In 05/06, for New York Ariza yielded a 17.5 PER to SFs, including 54.5% eFG and 19.8 points per 48. He was traded to the Magic where he finished out the season yielding 15.7 PER to SFs. They shot 46.7% eFG and averaged just 16.5 PP48. Last season, Ariza allowed a 16.6 PER to SFs, who shot 50.6% eFG, scored 21.9 PP48. In this young season, Ariza was allowing a 20.7 PER with Orlando, including 26 PP48 and 56.5% eFG. I consider Ariza a better than average defender who is capable of causing fits for the most adept scorers because of his length.
Shot Selection: 82games.com
Ariza took 51% of his shots as jumpers as a rookie. He hit just 32% of those shots. In his second season, he cut that percentage down to 42% with New York, but hit just 25% of them. In Orlando that same season, he took 34% jumpers and hit just 15% of them. Last year, he took 35% jumpers and shot 32%. This season, 45% of his shots are jumpers and he is hitting just 21% of them. So what two patterns do we notice? In general, he cannot shoot jumpers. That is unfortunate. On the bright side, he seems to know his weakness and tries to avoid shooting jumpers. Ariza's jump shot is atrocious.
As a rookie, 29% of Ariza's shots were close, and he hit 43% of them. Those numbers rose to 39% and 44% as a sophomore. In Orlando, he took 46% close shots and hit 49% of them. Last season, Ariza took 48% close shots and hit 59% of them, both career best marks. Those numbers this season are comparable, at 42% close shots and 54% made. Ariza is a competent to good close shooter.
15% of Ariza's shots were dunks as a rookie. He hit 97% of them. While he took the same % as a sophomore, his percentage fell to a "paltry" 91%. In Orlando, he fared much worse, taking 10% dunks and hitting just 75%. A man on a mission last year, Ariza dunked 12% of his shot attempts, hitting every one of them. This season, he has continued the trend, taking 13% dunks and hitting them all. Ariza is a dominant dunker.
I'm one who does not see Ariza as a starter any time soon, and perhaps never while Odom is on this team, but I shall assume that he will get Mo Evans's minutes, more or less. At about 13.5 minutes per game, Ariza would provide roughly 5.1 points, 0.8 assists, and 2.7 boards. Should he ever get a crack at the starting spot this season, in 25.7 minutes, he would average 9.6 points, 1.5 assists, and 5.2 rebounds. In fact, his numbers as a starter could end up being very similar to what Caron Butler was doing in LA, although the two players do it very differently.