What he brings: Defense
The Phoenix Suns were bad last season for a number of reasons, but one glaring issue was because of a terrible overall defense that couldn’t stop anyone. Opposing teams sliced through the Suns’ defense like a hot knife through butter.
Ariza is a little over-hyped as a one-on-one defender, although he’s still the best player for the Suns on that side of the court.
With Houston, Trevor Ariza organized the team defense and made sure everyone did their job.
If he can be a so-called defensive player-caller with Phoenix as he was in Houston, it is possible that one of the reasons McDonough coveted Ariza in free agency is so he can bring in Houston’s switch-everything system and help organize the Suns’ defensive system moving forward.
After the draft McDonough even mentioned that he thought the Suns now had the roster to switch on screens more consistently.
And look at the roster:
Devin Booker – Can guard 1-3
Josh Jackson, Mikal Bridges, T.J. Warren, Trevor Ariza – Can all guard 1-4
Dragan Bender, Marquise Chriss – Can guard 3-5
DeAndre Ayton – Can guard 4-5
McDonough used up almost all of his cap space this summer to tempt Ariza to Phoenix in the first few hours of free agency, so he obviously had a plan.
Maybe it was to bring Houston’s defense to Phoenix.
Houston had all sorts of rules of when to switch and with who and how to recover.
Ariza has been called an extension of Jeff Bzdelik on the court and knows the defense just as well.
Although he will likely be gone after the upcoming season, Ariza can teach Kokoskov the in’s and out’s of the Houston defense and create a form of it in Phoenix.
The Suns need a LOT of help defensively, and that is something that Ariza adds a lot of.