After signing a one-year, $15 million contract with the Phoenix Suns in the offseason, Trevor Ariza has been traded to the Washington Wizards for Kelly Oubre Jr. and Austin Rivers.
The move won't likely help the Wizards beyond this season - Ariza will become an unrestricted free agent in the offseason and is free to sign with any team in the league - but the 33-year-old fills a need on both ends of the court and should help Washington compete for a spot in the playoffs.
To understand how Ariza fits in with his new team, let's take a quick look at what he brings to the table.
What does Trevor Ariza bring to the Wizards?
3-point shooting primarily.
Ariza's shooting numbers have taken a slight hit to start this season, but he ranked near the top of the league in 3s made in each of the last four seasons. He knocked down an average of 2.4 3-pointers per game as the starting small forward on the Houston Rockets between 2014-18, doing so at a respectable 35.7 percent clip.
With the bulk of his 3-pointers being of the catch-and-shoot variety, Ariza will fit in well with Washington's one-two punch of John Wall and Bradley Beal, as teams will have to think twice about leaving him on the perimeter when either of those two have the ball in their hands.
Ariza has played with both of those All-Stars in the past, too. He had the best 3-point shooting season of his career as a member of the Wizards in 2012-13, and it was Wall who set him up for the bulk of his 3-point opportunities.
With Wall being one of the league's best at creating corner 3s and Ariza being one of the league's best corner shooters, the two form a natural pairing.
That should help the Wizards bounce back from their awful shooting to start this season. While they rank in the top half of the league in 3-point attempts per game, only the Detroit Pistons, Atlanta Hawks and Oklahoma City Thunder have converted those shots at a worse rate through 29 games.
With how poorly they are shooting from deep, it should come as no surprise that the Wizards find themselves in the middle of the league in offensive efficiency.
Over the last 5 seasons, the only player to make more corner threes than Trevor Ariza (405) is Klay Thompson (434), according to Second Spectrum.- ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) December 15, 2018
The Wizards rank 27th in 3-pt FG% (32.8) despite attempting the 11th-most 3-pt FG per game (32.7) this season. https://t.co/sgGpGATH5s
Ariza should make just as much of a difference on the other side of the court, too.
Standing at 6-foot-8 with a 7-foot-2 wingspan, Ariza has the size and length to defend multiple positions. He's unlikely to turn the Wizards into an elite defensive team all by himself, but having a proven defender on the wings could be what they need to improve on their 112.7 defensive rating, which is the second-worst in the league only ahead of the Cleveland Cavaliers.
His versatility will become particularly useful if Wizards make the postseason. Ariza spent time guarding the likes of Kevin Durant and Donovan Mitchell in Houston's playoff run last season, and he'll be expected to match up with the likes of Kawhi Leonard, Jayson Tatum and Jimmy Butler should the Wizards see any of those All-Stars in a series.
Whether or not that's enough to close the gap between the Wizards and the Eastern Conference's best remains to be seen, but the addition of Ariza should at least put them in position to find out.
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