Jump to content




Photo

Rodgers Report: Ariza's Shot


  • Please log in to reply
17 replies to this topic

#1 trodgers

trodgers

    Gentleman, Scholar

  • 741 posts
  • Joined: Jul 25, 2008
  • Location:Orlando
  • Fav. Laker:Kobe Bean Bryant

Posted September 25, 2008 - 08:49 AM

Recent rumblings have suggested that the LA Lakers are toying with the idea of sending starting Power Forward Lamar Odom to the bench. There are several considerations that recommend this move, but probably the biggest issue would be deciding who would start in Odom’s spot. The move with the highest potential payoff is promoting Trevor Ariza to the starting lineup. This move, however, is fraught with risk.

Lamar Odom came to Los Angeles for the 2004/05 season in the deal that sent out Shaquille O’Neal. He has played in more than 250 games since joining the Lakers, playing either Forward spot, initiating the offense on occasion, and filling in as the biggest man on the court in rare instances as well. But Odom’s willingness to play whatever spot the Lakers have asked him to is too frequently outweighed by his unwillingness (or inability depending upon whom you ask) to remain aggressive as a scoring option. With limited shooting from distance, and two behemoths manning the 4 and 5 spots for the upcoming season, Odom’s lack of aggressiveness could force management’s hand. He simply lacks a skill set that will allow a Small Forward to thrive in the current Lakers’ lineup.

This is precisely where Trevor Ariza becomes intriguing. While Ariza is not much of an outside shooter, a casual fan may not have noticed that in more than 200 games in his career prior to coming to LA, Ariza hit just four three-point shots in 28 attempts. This amounts to an incredibly poor percentage (14%) and an incredibly low shooting rate (1 per 134 minutes of game play). Meanwhile, Ariza hit 5 of 15 shots from the arc with the Lakers. That’s 33% and one shot per 29 minutes. These numbers come in a very limited sample size, but it is suggestive of Ariza’s willingness to make his game more dynamic and fit the team around him. Apart from an otherwise unremarkable jump shot, Ariza is an efficient offensive player, who shot 52% from the floor largely on slashing moves to the hoop. A solid rebounder despite his lack of bulk, Ariza also uses his length to benefit in passing situations. His ast/to ratio (nearly 2:1) was just slightly better than Odom’s, who, while touted as a skilled passer, is a poor decision-maker. So Ariza’s offensive game is at least adequate and arguably better suited for this team’s needs than Odom.

Ariza also adds increased ability on the defensive side of the ball. Odom is probably twenty pounds heavier, but Ariza is much more agile, uses his length better, and invests much more pride on defense. None of this is to say that Odom is a poor defender. He has been shoddy at times, but for significant stretches last season he was above average. Ariza’s talent lies in the fact that he has relishes the role of being employed to cover opposing teams’ best players. He is a timely shot blocker, an adept ball thief, and plays with full intensity. While fans frequently complain about Odom’s “coasting,” that label is wholly inappropriate for Ariza, who plays all out.

So where is the risk in moving Odom to the bench? His scoring, assuming he is not considered a first or second option, and rebounding would energize a second unit. There is, however, always a risk to moving a player from the starting lineup to the bench. Consider Luke Walton. It may be said that he played so well as he did in 06/07 because he was in a contract season. That is true. On the other hand, it could be said that the move from being a starter in 06/07 (he started all 65 games he appeared in during 06/07) to losing the starting spot accounted for his epic decline. Walton shot 2.4% worse on FGs, 5.4% worse on threes, and 3.9% worse on FTs, and was roundly criticized by LA faithful. With this in mind, the consequences of sending Odom to the bench must be considered. Playing as he does currently, he would be a huge lift to the second unit. Playing even more inefficiently, Odom would be an incredibly pricey disaster.

There is one further risk: Ariza’s health. In four seasons, Ariza has averaged 56 games per season. Over the past three seasons, that average falls to 50. He has not appeared in more than 60 games since his rookie season and appeared in just 35 last season. Questions about a congenital defect in his foot, the same foot that caused him to miss three months last year, linger and make the likelihood of his appearing in a full season a slender hope. Add in increased minutes that come along with starting (he has averaged 18 minutes per game in his career) and the odds of a breakdown must be countenanced.

As with any roster tinkering, the pros and cons of moving Odom out of the starting lineup must be weighed heavily before committing to a move. He may not work out. And if he does not, consider Ariza the best fit given the surrounding team’s skills and skill gaps. The potential reward is huge: Phil Jackson would have his Doberman on defense, a solid rebounder, a good slasher, and a fiery competitor. Next to Kobe Bryant, and with Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol in the low post and veteran sniper Derek Fisher at the Point, the Lakers could be significantly better than they were last season. Yet for all Ariza’s potential as a difference-maker, the risk factor remains quite high.
@Travis_Rodgers
www.travisjrodgers.com
blog.travisjrodgers.com (Lakers stuff)

#2 Tobias Fünke

Tobias Fünke

    Ron Ron

  • 6,794 posts
  • Joined: Jul 24, 2008
  • Location:South Central Los Angeles.

Posted September 25, 2008 - 09:01 AM

It would be nice to have Odom come off the bench. Having a healthy Ariza will be exciting too.

Edited by Big Worm, September 26, 2008 - 09:06 AM.

<img src="http://i38.tinypic.c...com/xgmemf.gif" border="0" class="linked-image" />

#3 GCMD

GCMD

    All-Star

  • 6,887 posts
  • Joined: Jul 25, 2008
  • Fav. Laker:Magic Johnson

Posted September 25, 2008 - 01:44 PM

Which is why starting Vlad is the lesser of all evils.

Great write-up. Thoroughly enjoyed it...

Edited by GCMD, September 25, 2008 - 01:45 PM.


#4 We Believe

We Believe

    Sixth Man

  • 2,805 posts
  • Joined: Jul 30, 2008
  • Location:So Cal
  • Fav. Laker:Kobe and Fish.

Posted September 25, 2008 - 03:24 PM

yup. I would have to say that i would prefer Odom coming off the bench at the 4 rather than him starting at the 3, but i would only do this if and only if Ariza is 100% healthy.

2010 NBA CHAMPIONS = LOS ANGELES LAKERS


#5 Zen

Zen

    cooler than a polar bears toenails

  • 661 posts
  • Joined: Jul 29, 2008
  • Location:&quot;I got dreams, but dreams don't keep the lights on.&quot;
  • Fav. Laker:..::Magic::..

Posted September 25, 2008 - 03:31 PM

Awesome right up Trodgers

The more and more I think about it the more I like the idea of Odom coming of the bench.

#6 ファイナルファンタジ

ファイナルファンタジ

    Pump Up The Fruit

  • 12,134 posts
  • Joined: Jul 25, 2008
  • Location:San Daygo
  • Name:Jerry
  • Fan Since:Forever
  • Fav. Laker:コービーブライアント

Posted September 25, 2008 - 03:34 PM

Man, this is going to suck if Ariza gets injured again. Hopefully he'll play all 82 games next season. :unsure:

Posted Image
Team Farmar
United we stand. Divided we fall.


#7 Helljumper

Helljumper

    76ers GM

  • 2,461 posts
  • Joined: Jul 25, 2008
  • Location:Riverside, CA
  • Fav. Laker:Kobe Bryant

Posted September 25, 2008 - 03:39 PM

I want to add one thing from personal experience. I went to the Lakers vs. Bobcats game in March, months before he came back from injury, and Ariza was out there shooting jumpers before the game. I think this shows that he worked on his jumper a lot while he was injured so we're going to be in for a surprise next year with him.
Posted Image

#8 We Believe

We Believe

    Sixth Man

  • 2,805 posts
  • Joined: Jul 30, 2008
  • Location:So Cal
  • Fav. Laker:Kobe and Fish.

Posted September 25, 2008 - 04:03 PM

I want to add one thing from personal experience. I went to the Lakers vs. Bobcats game in March, months before he came back from injury, and Ariza was out there shooting jumpers before the game. I think this shows that he worked on his jumper a lot while he was injured so we're going to be in for a surprise next year with him.


hopefully your right and he has a shot with a defender running at him.

2010 NBA CHAMPIONS = LOS ANGELES LAKERS


#9 daco_inc

daco_inc

    Starter

  • 4,431 posts
  • Joined: Jul 31, 2008
  • Location:Seattle
  • Fan Since:birth
  • Fav. Laker:growing up: magic, now: kobe

Posted September 25, 2008 - 04:52 PM

Ariza the best fit? Do we really need another slasher? We have Kobe already, with Bynum and Gasol down low. We'll need Vlad out there as an outside threat.

#10 Domo

Domo

    Based

  • 1,001 posts
  • Joined: Sep 19, 2008
  • Location:Melbourne, Australia

Posted September 25, 2008 - 05:57 PM

Yeah I read somewhere he's been working on his jumper a lot over the off season, good luck Ariza :blink:

#11 Louizzle

Louizzle

    L.A. All Day

  • 945 posts
  • Joined: Aug 11, 2008
  • Location:Los Angeles
  • Fav. Laker:Kobe Bryant & Derek Fisher

Posted September 25, 2008 - 10:07 PM

If Ariza can increase his range and consistency of shooting, he would be the perfect fit for our SF spot. I want to see if he's improved or not this season and if he is worthy to start as our starting SF.

Made By Vaporize

#12 Avi

Avi

    Rookie

  • 222 posts
  • Joined: Sep 19, 2008
  • Fav. Laker:Shaquille O'Neal

Posted September 25, 2008 - 10:11 PM

if ariza can increase his range a bit, there is no doubt phil jackson will start him.

#13 trodgers

trodgers

    Gentleman, Scholar

  • 741 posts
  • Joined: Jul 25, 2008
  • Location:Orlando
  • Fav. Laker:Kobe Bean Bryant

Posted September 26, 2008 - 07:33 AM

Ariza the best fit? Do we really need another slasher? We have Kobe already, with Bynum and Gasol down low. We'll need Vlad out there as an outside threat.

We REALLY do need another slasher. Our inability to create a shot off the dribble killed us against the Celtics. I'm not saying it was the biggest problem (perimeter D was atrocious), but it was significant. Odom has a respectable ability, but he almost never uses it. Ariza is different. He uses it. If Kobe can penetrate, passing lanes open for Bynum and Gasol underneath, but I also imagine Trevor following Kobe down the lane...Kobe diverts at the last moment and Ariza follows. Maybe it's a fantasy, but it's what makes Ariza so intriguing.

And defensively? I really think it's not even close.

Thanks for the kind words, guys.
@Travis_Rodgers
www.travisjrodgers.com
blog.travisjrodgers.com (Lakers stuff)

#14 Kam

Kam

    Basketball Immortality

  • 2,455 posts
  • Joined: Jun 29, 2008
  • Location:Los Angeles
  • Name:Kam Pashai
  • Fan Since:1997
  • Fav. Laker:Kobe Bryant

Posted September 26, 2008 - 07:34 AM

Great read! Checked it out a few days ago on the TLN blog.

Top notch stuff, as usual.

#15 netlord

netlord

    Flying high

  • 10,723 posts
  • Joined: Jul 29, 2008
  • Location:España
  • Name:Alexi
  • Fav. Laker:Kobe

Posted September 26, 2008 - 07:48 AM

Great read! Checked it out a few days ago on the TLN blog.

Top notch stuff, as usual.



Yes, I love your reports trodgers.
Posted Image

#16 ファイナルファンタジ

ファイナルファンタジ

    Pump Up The Fruit

  • 12,134 posts
  • Joined: Jul 25, 2008
  • Location:San Daygo
  • Name:Jerry
  • Fan Since:Forever
  • Fav. Laker:コービーブライアント

Posted September 26, 2008 - 02:45 PM

Yes, I love your reports trodgers.

I know for real. They're on FIYAAAAAAAAA!

Posted Image
Team Farmar
United we stand. Divided we fall.


#17 We Believe

We Believe

    Sixth Man

  • 2,805 posts
  • Joined: Jul 30, 2008
  • Location:So Cal
  • Fav. Laker:Kobe and Fish.

Posted September 26, 2008 - 03:01 PM

good work trodgers.

2010 NBA CHAMPIONS = LOS ANGELES LAKERS


#18 Texas_Pete

Texas_Pete

    Rookie

  • 55 posts
  • Joined: Jul 25, 2008
  • Location:Texas
  • Fav. Laker:Ariza

Posted September 29, 2008 - 01:38 PM

Props dude. I will link this article on other Laker sites. <_<

Edited by Texas_Pete, September 29, 2008 - 01:38 PM.





1 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 1 guests, 0 anonymous users