O.C. Register: Had you seen Trevor Ariza before the first game of his new Lakers life, you would know that he is in no way psyched out by having a starting role.

He was sprawled on the floor in the visiting locker room Wednesday night at Houston’s Toyota Center, a foam exercise roller as a makeshift pillow. He was doing a killer impression of teammate DJ Mbenga, chatting about all the coaches he has gone through in his career and divulging that his great-grandfather was Spanish. (That’s the origin for his surname “Ariza” — but no, he’s not related to Pau Gasol … or Rudy Fernandez.)

Ariza had found out that morning he would become the starting small forward after Coach Phil Jackson agreed with Luke Walton’s suggestion to swap Walton’s and Ariza’s rotation roles. In Ariza’s words, this is how he felt about it: “Not trippin’.”

So before the Lakers’ next game Thursday, it was time to stop and chat with Ariza for clarification on just what it was about the starting gig he didn’t want. What he had to say should quash this Jackson-driven portrayal of Ariza as some frightened bunny who all season would rather go hopping off the court than take part in the opening tip-off — and it explained an awful lot about a team spirit driving the Lakers toward a championship.

“Everybody wants to start,” Ariza said. “I’m not even going to say I didn’t, but I figured if I come off the bench, everybody would be happy.”

Continue reading ‘Start or not, Ariza remains unselfish’

  • WifelovesLuke

    Ariza is the difference this season. Bynum is a huge part of the future of the Lakers, but Ariza’s athleticism and length and pressure defense is what has put the Lakers over the top. Celtics, Cavs, Magic? Who cares as long as this kid remains a team player and continues to contribute the way he has this season. Great job Trevor!

  • mbenga

    That’s right. Ariza will put them over the top. But your wife seriously loves luke? is she ok??

  • 1ofMany

    CONTRACT EXTENSION PLEASE!!!

  • http://www.visionofthefans.com Chris Manning

    The article basically tells us Ariza wants to win the ring, then resign to stay here in Los Angeles. He is an absolute gem.

    Ariza is the man…

  • Eidraq

    ariza is great for this team

  • lakerpurpleandgold

    Thank you Luke for being selfless and putting the team first. You never hear of a conversation like that in the League and I really want to know how it transpired. Ariza, if he keeps playing his part, is working for that contract. Phil trusts him enough to start and Trevor accepts that now might not be the time to finish the game as last night Sasha and Luke were the closers. Anyway, Trevor brings length and defensive savvy on the court alongside Lamar and Kobe, an extremely talented, potent 2-3-4 lineup.

  • YellowPurpleFever

    It is fair to compare him to Cooper yet? I think one more season with this group and its safe to say. He def gonna improve his jumpers and one on one defense this summer before signing a BIG 5 years contract. And dont forget Josh, he needs love too.

  • arizaallstar

    ariza is the xfacter this season we with him and bynum pretty much we will dominate and win maby two champs

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