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Trevor Ariza Adds To Sacramento’s Versatility In A Big Way

(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

The 34 year-old can make an impact in several ways — from the bench AND the starting unit

Entering his 16th season in the National Basketball Association, Trevor Ariza finds himself in unfamiliar territory.

For five of the past six seasons, Ariza was a significant part of postseason basketball on the Houston Rockets, a team that always looked to be a piece or two away from the glory of an NBA championship. Playing at the small forward position, Ariza started in every game that he played for Houston — 310 games started out of 310 games played, to be exact. Even when he left the Rockets for a lucrative offer from the Phoenix Suns last summer, the result remained the same: 26 games, 26 starts.

In January, Ariza was traded to the Washington Wizards, a team he had played for from 2012 through 2014. Over 43 games played, Ariza started in every one of them. In fact, Trevor Ariza has not come off of the bench in an NBA game since April 7, 2013 when he was in his first stint with the Wizards.

(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

In all likelihood, this is going to change in 2019-20.

Now that Ariza has signed with Sacramento, it looks as if his streak of games started could come to an end this upcoming season. With Harrison Barnes locked in to start at the small forward and Marvin Bagley III looking as if he’ll be the Kings starting power forward come opening night, Ariza could see himself in a new role.

Start or Sit?

Last season, the Kings ran out backup small forwards like Justin Jackson and Corey Brewer. At times, even though he is considered undersized for the position, Bogdan Bogdanovic was even placed into the small forward position.

What Trevor Ariza can bring to the Sacramento Kings is pretty simple: versatility.

If brought off of the bench in the second unit, the Kings would have a proven three-and-D threat to place on the floor with Harry Giles III, Bogdan Bogdanovic and Cory Joseph. Ariza’s ability to stretch the floor (lifetime 35-percent shooter from three) and pass the ball would greatly benefit the Sacramento bench.

While many around the league stress the importance of Ariza’s scoring ability, his passing skills are usually overlooked. Last season, the Kings leaders in assists were De’Aaron Fox (7.3) and Bogdan Bogdanovic (3.8). Dishing 3.7 assists per game, Ariza would have ranked third on last year’s Sacramento squad.

Bringing a player like Trevor Ariza off of the bench holds so much value due to the fact that when he’s on his game, he can do it all. Ariza’s 1.3 steals per game would have been the second-highest on last year’s team. His 4.7 rebounds per game would have been sixth best. There is so much more to Trevor Ariza than just knocking down shots.

Of course, the bench could also use a player that averaged 12.5 points per game while converting 44-percent of shots from 16-to-22 feet.

Scoring shouldn’t be a problem for next season’s bench. Bogdanovic will look to improve on a rough shooting year, Richaun Holmes will be aggressive around the rim and Giles will likely get a longer look in 2019-20. With fellow experienced veteran Cory Joseph running the point, this Kings second unit may be the best we have seen in many, many years.

Insurance, Insurance, Insurance

Over the course of an 82 game season, injuries are unfortunately a part of the game.

If an injury takes place to a Sacramento starter, Ariza can be slotted into the starting lineup. Since the 2013-14 season, the veteran forward has played in 456 of 492 games. Odds are if anyone goes down in the starting five, Ariza can do what he’s done for the majority of his career: start. After years of uncertainty surrounding the Kings depth at the small forward position, it is now one of their greater strengths.

Harrison Barnes and Trevor Ariza will likely be Sacrameto’s first and second-string small forwards in 2019-20. That’s quite the upgrade if you look at the recent Kings depth charts of the past few years.

A few years ago, they battled in the playoffs. Now, they will team up on a Sacramento Kings squad looking to clinch their first playoff berth since 2006.

(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)