Rockets notes: Ariza shakes off rust, gets in rhythm | NBA Basketball | – Houston Chronicle

2010 March 10
by rahat huq

Asked if he would be all right if Rick Adelman continues to bring him off the bench, Ariza said, "If we’re winning, I don’t mind, but that’s not up to me.

via Rockets notes: Ariza shakes off rust, gets in rhythm | NBA Basketball | – Houston Chronicle.

If he’s relegated to the bench, it would mean that Ariza turned down the defending champs–familiar surroundings–for a lesser role on a lottery team, for similar pay. I think a permanent demotion would too greatly affect his psyche – I can’t see him handling it well.

At the same time, starting Battier is the right decision. He’s this team’s leader, the anchor of its defense, and even the quarterback of its offense. Despite his limitations, the offense always flows more freely with Shane in the game.

My hunch is that Shane will continue to start until Trevor fully recovers from his injury. With the season lost, Trevor will then regain his starting role with Battier moving to the bench; a consummate professional like Shane won’t give two thoughts over such an unjustified demotion.

The team’s long term vision is likely to start Martin and Ariza at the wings. With the value in his expiring contract, Shane could be out of the picture quite soon. In combination with the previously mentioned factors, it only makes sense for Ariza to return to the starting lineup. I thought he looked better last night, taking what the defense gave him. Let’s hope that continues.

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  • purvisshort
    Ariza's just got to shot a better percentage, which means for him taking only those shots he's likely to make. As a scoring option, that puts him behindbehind, Yao, Martin, Brooks and maybe even the other big. Any game he shoots 20 times is bad, because the number of types of shots he should shoot is limited: fastbreaks, open threes, and backcuts. Watching him drive is a TRAIN WRECK. I take the point that he's still early on the learning curve, but shooting is kinda like the Fields Medal, if it's not there at 25, is it ever going to be?

    Further on the topic of Brooks, if he does not learn to get fouled when he goes to the hoop, he's already peaked in his career. He's not gonna get faster, or any better at those absolutely amazing flip layups with intense spin and arc. Those are breathtaking, but super high degree of difficulty. When Martin goes to the hoop, it's a straight line, and he puts himself in harm's way. Can we get Brooks to spend a summer with David Thorpe working on ball fakes and drives hundreds of times a day like Martin did? At a 90% clip, his freethrow shooting makes him lethal when driving for, and not away from, contact.

    If he doesn't learn that, trade him. We've got Lowry (who we will absolutely re-sign as a restricted FA), and Lull (who I'm hyped about coming over the pond one day). Has anyone heard whether Lull's gonna be in the summer league this year?

    I have to say, as a Rox fan, I am so exhausted of being excited for next year, every year. But, right now, I AM SUPER EXCITED FOR NEXT YEAR.
  • Easy
    I keep hearing people say that Ariza has been playing out of position. My question is, what are the differences between the job of a SF and that of a SG? and what makes Ariza a better SF than SG?

    I think most coaches today would say that SG and SF are interchangeable positions. And I think this is especially true in Adelman's offense.
  • thirdcoastborn
    Real two guards like Martin can take thier defender off the dribble, create there own shots, mainly score with ease. Ariza struggles at that, and forces too many turnovers while trying to create. Battier can't create his own shot, besides with no Yao, Brooks is only player who penetration causes double teams leaving someone wide open. Ariza played his best with the lakers at the three, hitting wide open shots,playing the lanes, and the fastbreak, playing off Kobe and their inside threats. If most coaches thought the sf and sg are interchangeable then why didn't Shane Battier start at the two guard at the start of the season, and why dont you see Richard Jefferson,Shawn Marion,or Paul Pierce playing time at the two.Only a few can successfully play both positions like Kobe,Wade,Carmelo,Joe Johnson,Jemale Crawford, and Lebron. The main reason they can play either is because of their dribble penetration, and ability to create their own shot.
  • Jason
    This is not true. Really, nowadays, guards and small forwards are all but interchangeable except on defense. And no, no one has ever referred to Carmelo Anthony as a two guard, nor has he ever manned that designated position on the court with Denver, not that it matters. You just took some standard of, Must be able to dribble drive and labeled that as a guard. So by your definition, Sasha Vujacic is not a guard, but a small forward? Also, have you ever seen Richard Jefferson play. The thing he is best at is driving the ball and creating his own shot off the dribble. The reason he's not outdatedly labeled a two is because he's best matching up defensively against small forwards.

    And yes, Pierce can create his own shot. The reason he's not called a two is because he doesn't guard them usually, but then again, he guarded Kobe Bryant pretty fantastically in the Finals a couple of years ago. The line between a small forward and a guard is very very small.
  • thirdcoastborn
    Please Carmelo's offensive skillset is so great he can play the two. He would struggle on defense like Ariza has at times at the two. Are you serious Sasha Vujacic is too short to play the three,and he is not that good thats why i did not use him as an example. The reason Paul Pierce is a three is because as soon as he came in the league he was a star at the three, and made a name for his self at that position. At first you just said the sf and sg were interchangeable, but now its except on defense. Please, you still have not told why Battier did not start at the two this year if they are so interchangeable. The rockets knew his offense was too limited to play the two position, they did not know if Ariza could come in and play the position. Understand its not just the dribble penetration, its the ability to score alot and with ease. Roy,Wade, Joe Johnson,Kobe all premier two guards, they all have one thing in common, they can hit thirty any and every night. Now can Ariza or Battier do that playing the two, and be efficient, no. Its a reason the two guard is called the shooting guard, because traditionally in the nba that position is for your scorer, the three hits the open shot, and from time to time is expected to score, and play good defense.
  • Easy
    What you say is arguing against your premise. Guys like Anthony who can create and score a lot not because they are a 3 or a 2, but because they are skilled and talented. Guys like Vujacic can't not because he's a 3 or a 2, but because he doesn't have the talent. In other words, your criteria of being able to create and to score has nothing to do with the position but with everything to do with talent.

    LeBron holds the ball a lot, creates most of the offense, and scores a bunch. Is he a 3 or a 2? Does it really matter?

    Ultimately, you are trying to say "traditionally... " but what does tradition has to do about this. We are talking about what these guys do on the floor.

    If both Ariza and Battier are SF and can't create, as you say, then why is Ariza, and not Battier, having the excuse of playing out of position? Doesn't it make more sense to just say that it is not a good idea to play two non-creating wing players together? I mean, if Ariza was playing alongside with guys like LeBron or Carmelo, would he be still playing out of position then?
  • thirdcoastborn
    Ariza struggled at times this year making to many turnovers. In his defense he was moved to the two guard, which is not his position. He is a small forward who can hit the open shot,get steals,occassionly drive by his defender, and is good on the fastbreak. With Martin he does not have to force offense, and with Yao he is the third,or fourth option. Shane,Hilton and probaly Jeffries are gone this offseason.
  • steve___1
    For those that also like to project based on likely trajectories I have been anticipating the "what to do with Ariza" scenario.

    While this is being discussed add in the next move. The Rockets WILL sign another big name veteran in the offseason, a Bosh, Grainger, type. Battier will be odd man out and Ariza will lose his starting minutes. I expect Ariza to split time at the 2 and 3 as an instant offense off the bench player. However 6 for 20 shooting won't get the job done. Ariza will have to show his shot can be consistent to keep that role or he will be gone. I like Ariza, and to be fair he has played with an injury which surely affected his shooting.

    Let's not forget we may draft a pretty good player in June. Our second unit of Lowery,Ariza,Buddinger, Hill, and Jefferies will be hard to crack, but what if we get lucky?

    Morey is throwing so many good players into the mix, we are going to start hating him for setting up a "Sophie's Choice" dilemma for the fans.
  • Alituro
    This sums up how I feel about the situation. As much of a hard time you guys give Ariza, you have to remember he's only 24 with no college exp. His 5 years NBA experience was coming off the bench in limited minutes for LA. He's never been in such an important role on a team since HS. Before Martin came along, Brooks was the only scoring option out of our starters with Scola picking it up sometimes. We needed another scorer, Ariza has the length and athleticism to be that so Rick gave him the green light to see what he could do. The result of the experiment being: that his game needs more refinement before being put in such a role. What he is good at is slashing and spot-up 3 pointers, and that's the role I've seen him assume since Martin joined. He has a long fruitful future in this league and will only continue to improve especially because he has a mentor the likes of Battier to help him with his decision making on both ends of the floor.

    That being said, I think Battier will relish the role of Mentor and is wise enough to know he is in his declining years. He will have no complaints coming off the bench and will still make a difference every minute on the floor. In Morey's relentless pursuit of that final piece to our puzzle, Battier will most likely not be in Rox uniform next season which is all the better reason to kep Ariza in a starting role especially because the season will more than likely not carry over to the playoffs. We want him in top shape and form for a champ run next season.
  • bob schmidt
    I don't intend to be hard on Ariza. After scanning his playing history, I realize that his experience is far less than I have realized. I thought that he had solid credentials coming to the Rox, and now realize that his signing was overstated by all of the press coverage. That coverage plus his 6 million dollar contract made me think that he was far better than our present reality....

    That being said, he is a great poster-child for why many 19 year old kids should not jump into the NBA. He has really only played significant minutes his first year with the Knicks, and last year with the Lakers. So, you are probably right that he will get a lot better with more experience.

    The big question is this, do we really have to worry about his psyche? Is he too fragile to compete on a level playing field? He needs to show me that he is on a positive upward learning curve for me to want to see him on the court more than Bud, and several other young players. If he is really someone who can be coached, playing with the second unit should not be an insult, just a coaching decision. I do want him to do well, and do want to like him as a player. We've already had our share of "head cases" in Houston, and I don't want to continue that history...........
  • Alituro
    I will have to agree here Bob. I have no room or patience for anyone making $6million a year and complaining about getting his "feelings hurt". There is not much abuse I wouldn't put up with for that kind of money. If indeed that is the case with him, I say let him go ASAP. We need to keep the head cases out (Wafer?, Rafer? Artest? T-mac?) at almost any expense.

    I'm a pretty good judge of character normally and I'm not getting those "head case" vibes from Ariza, at least not like from the other 4 I mentioned. He lets frustration show once in a while, but I've chalked that up as a desire to win and do well, coupled with a little immaturity. I don't see him as a moping, pouty type though. Unless i'm missing something.

    Tues-Sat. is too long a break for me BTW.
  • bob schmidt
    Hmmm, my recollection is that the Lakers signed Artest instead of pursuing Ariza. I don't believe that Ariza was given the opportunity to stay with them.

    Regardless, the inmates cannot be permitted to run the asylum. Ariza has not performed as hoped for in his expanded role with the Rockets. The coaches have to do their jobs to make out the lineups with winning in mind. Look at the results of fragile egos such as Rafer and Tracy. I want RA to lead us as a coach, not as a mental rehab facility. If Ariza can't function in the role for which he is best suited, trade him. We don't need any special treatment affecting our hopes to field our best team..............Just saying what I'm thinking.
  • RoxBeliever
    Shane provides a lot of leadership for this team. Hopefully we can offer him a coaching job and he can eventually take over the head coaching job when RA retires. He'll be great as our defensive coach in the meantime.
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