Trevor Ariza is a perfect fit on the Phoenix Suns

Phoenix Suns Trevor Ariza (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Phoenix Suns Trevor Ariza (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /

Trevor Ariza‘s opening night box score shows he played a great game, but how much his presence helps his teammates can’t be overstated.

After an active NBA Draft, the Phoenix Suns were more under the radar in free agency. They used up essentially all of their cap space to sign Trevor Ariza to a one year deal at the start of free agency, and no one was calling home about that signing. But after opening night, it’s already safe to say that Ariza is a perfect fit in Phoenix.

So many of the things the Suns struggled with last season came back to defense and three point shooting, and Ariza excels at both. But it’s not just as simple as that. Ariza makes things easier for every single one of his teammates just by being on the floor.

There was a notable play in the first half when Deandre Ayton had an undersized Wesley Matthews in the post and a defender tried to come down and double him. Ayton was impressively patient for a first overall pick in his first NBA game, and he looked out to the perimeter, forcing the second defender to retreat back to his man to avoid giving up the open three.

If it were last year, without the threat of that shot going in, the post man would’ve been trapped in a double team down low. Instead, Ayton took his time and got an easy bucket.

There was another play in the second half that stood out. Devin Booker drove down the right side and drew in a weak side defender. Booker then made an excellent cross court pass to Ariza, who hit the open three. Booker rarely gets credit for being a good passer, but having teammates make their shots should change that.

Lastly, Ariza also creates open threes for other players just by standing on the perimeter. T.J. Warren and Josh Jackson both shot well form beyond on opening night, knocking down multiple wide open looks from deep. A big reason they were so wide open is because Trevor Ariza is a guy defenses don’t want to rotate away from.

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Ariza lead the team with 37 minutes and a plus 25. He had 21 points on 7-12 shooting, including 5-9 from three. He also tacked on eight boards and seven assists. At Ariza’s age, he can’t be considered a long term solution for the Phoenix Suns, but there’s no doubt he’s a perfect fit with this team.