The Los Angeles Lakers are reportedly interested in trading for Phoenix Suns forward Trevor Ariza, who’s a potentially perfect fit for their team.
He is a 3-and-D player who could help the Lakers on defense. Considering Phoenix is not in contention and Los Angeles is a playoff threat, a veteran like Ariza may help move the needle in the Western Conference — especially considering his natural compatibility with the Lakers’ offense.
Under head coach Luke Walton, Los Angeles has finished 21 percent of their offensive possessions in transition — that’s currently second-best in the NBA.
Ariza averaged 1.31 points per possession in a transition offense for the Houston Rockets last season, per Synergy Sports. Among players who had at least 100 possessions on this play type, only eight were more efficient than Ariza. He ranked Top 25 in total transition scoring, averaging 3.8 points per game.
Dating back to his rookie season, Ariza has been one of the most prolific scorers in transition. The forward ranked Top 15 for total points scored when in transition four seasons in a row (from 2013 through 2017).
Ariza finished 2.9 possessions per game in this type of offense last season. That figure is down to just 2.3 possessions per game largely because the Suns have been one of the least effective teams moving the ball up the court.
He has been less productive this year than in the past but much like with big man Tyson Chandler, a change of scenery could be beneficial for Ariza.
If he can get back in an offense more suitable for his skill set, expect his production to return to what it was when he was on the Rockets. With players like Lonzo Ball and LeBron James pushing the pace, Ariza would be an excellent fit on the Lakers.