The Sacramento Kings have added some new faces in free agency, and there’s no better way to learn about a player than to pick the brains of those who have previously covered them. With that in mind, we’ll have a series of Q&As with other NBA writers who have covered the newest Kings. Today we’re starting with Trevor Ariza and we’ll be picking the brain of Jake Whitacre of Bullets Forever, SB Nation’s Wizards Blog
1. What is your overall opinion of Trevor Ariza as a player?
Trevor Ariza is a lovely player to have on your roster. He’s seen just about everything in his career from winning a title with the Lakers and being at the cutting edge of basketball with the Rockets to being stuck in some of the worst situations imaginable with the 2004-05 Knicks and the 2018-19 Wizards, so he knows what it’s like to be on the mountaintop and in the valley. He provided great mentorship to John Wall and Bradley Beal during his first stint with the team and I imagine he’ll have even more he can pass on to the Kings’ young core.
As far as his production on the court, he’s reached the point where his reputation precedes his ability. He’s still a good defender and a solid shooter, but he isn’t what he used to be on either end. If you’re relying on him to be your best defender or a reliable spacer, you’ll be disappointed, but what’s good is he won’t be a weak link on either end.
2. What areas of Ariza’s game are going to frustrate Kings fans the most?
The most frustrating part of his game is his shot selection. He still likes to attack the rim when he gets the chance, but he only shot 52.6 percent in the restricted area after he joined Washington. He can’t finish over people like he used to, and he’s not great at finishing with touch around the rim. He’ll also revert to Houston-mode from time to time and fire away on threes even when he might not be the right person to take the shot.
3. What is the ideal way for a team to use Ariza?
I think the Kings are set up quite well to put Ariza in his ideal role. He’ll be the lowest usage guy alongside Fox, Hield, Barnes, and Bagley which should cut down on his tendency to take bad shots. He won’t face the pressure to be the second or third-best guy night-to-night like he was in Washington.
Defensively, it would be better if you had another guy who could relieve some of the pressure on that end so he doesn’t have to guard the best wing every night, especially now that you’ve got LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard, and Paul George in your division, but hopefully the Kings’ firepower can help offset some of that.
4. Is there anything else Kings fans should know about Ariza?
If you’re team is 22-32 at the trade deadline and you have a chance to trade him before he hits free agency, maybe you should do that.