As I mentioned in my article on the Rockets’ former starting small forward, Chandler Parsons, once Trevor Ariza agreed to join Houston, it was all but assured that he would be the man to hold down the perimeter. Originally thought to be a straight free-agent signing, today it turns out the Ariza will come to the Rockets in a three-team sign-and-trade deal.
Ariza signed a four-year, $32 million deal to come to Houston, but there were other moving parts. Let’s break that down here.
Houston receives — Ariza (Washington), Alonzo Gee and 2015 first-round pick (New Orleans)
New Orleans receives — Omer Asik, Omri Casspi, $1.5 million cash
Washington receives — $8.5 million trade exception, Melvin Ely (New Orleans)
Earlier on this offseason, I broke down the Asik move and aside from Ariza, he’s the only fantasy relevant piece in this deal.
Ariza was one of the surprises of last season. He went from being undrafted in most standard leagues to a top 30 finish, which is basically unheard of. The concern with Ariza is that his biggest year came in a contract year, and his other seasons have been uninspiring at best. Prior to his 26th ranked finish to last season, the best performance Ariza had notched was a 69th ranked finish in 2011-12 when he was with the New Orleans Hornets. He hasn’t been terrible though, ending each of the last six seasons with a ranking inside the top 110, but to expect a top 30 finish seems a little foolhardy.
The great 2013-14 season that Ariza put together can be seen below.
A career high in rebounds and three-pointers helped fuel his dramatic increase, but could he replicate now that he has been paid? It’s obviously impossible to tell for sure, but the increased pace in Houston may be enough to offset the predicted drop off in output. But, the spectre of ballhog James Harden looms over the situation, Throw in Dwight Howard and Ariza may be called on more for his defensive prowess than his offensive performance.
One thing that is for sure, is that he is the undisputed starter at the three, with newly acquired Alonzo Gee in line to back him up. Ariza could easily see close to the 38 minutes Parsons played last season and coupled with the up tempo offense, should reduce his projected drop of somewhat. Here’s how I see Ariza shaping up next season.
I’m probably as shocked as you when Ariza’s numbers came out like this, placing him within the top 30 again. But, if you factor in the high pace, plus the higher projected minutes, it makes sense. Sort of. Now, I won’t be picking Ariza in the third or probably fourth round, but anytime after pick 40, he seems like he could be a decent producer and if last year wasn’t a fluke, you could be in for a pleasant surprise.