Happy Birthday to Tariq Owens! (and possibly Trevor Ariza)

Tariq Owens, Phoenix Suns (Photo by Barry Gossage NBAE via Getty Images)
Tariq Owens, Phoenix Suns (Photo by Barry Gossage NBAE via Getty Images) /

And I suppose we have to say the same to Trevor Ariza…..he did play for the Suns after all.

Here at Valley of the Suns, we cover all things Phoenix Suns, including the birthdays of past and present players who wore the orange and purple! It is with that internal mission in mind that we take this time to shout out two Suns players (one current and one former) who share the same birthday (today, June 30th).

Tariq Owens is the now 25-year-old power forward with the Suns on a two-way contract. For those who don’t remember, Owens went undrafted in the 2019 NBA draft, after a college career that saw him suit up for Tennessee, St. Johns, and Texas Tech.  He did not play in summer league but was able to join the Suns…well, the Suns G League affiliate Northern Arizona Suns.

Owens has shown the resiliency and dedication needed to earn a spot on the Phoenix Suns roster and continue to make a name for himself.

After several strong performances in the G League, Owens was signed by the Phoenix Suns to a two-way deal on January 15th, and less than a month later he made his pro debut with a double-double! (Ok, that’s a lame joke, he had two points and two rebounds in the game, so a….double deuce?)

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As a solid rim roller with some stretch potential, Owens has a skill set that can lend itself to the Suns with continued polish and experience. You may not want to play as him in NBA 2K, but with the resiliency that he has displayed throughout his career and the work he has put in up to this point, it might not be too long before we see this high-motor big get some consistent minutes on the NBA floor.

Now to Trevor Ariza.

Ariza is now 35 and played for the Phoenix Suns in the 2018-2019 season, averaging 9.9 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 3.3 assists. He joined the Suns in free agency that year in a move that was clearly for the money, signing a one year $15 million dollar deal.

For the Suns, the hope was that Ariza would be someone who could mentor the many young players on the roster while doubling as a potentially valuable trade chip to a contender down the line. He was also still a decent player with strong defensive ability and position flexibility, as well as someone who was a solid three-point threat. For Phoenix, Ariza was a signing that would help them begin to turn the corner.

The results…they weren’t great.

Ariza had a solid opening night with the Suns, playing great defense and knocking down five three-pointers in a feel-good dominant win. After that, the pairing between Ariza and the Suns quickly went sour as Phoenix would begin to slump and Ariza would clearly check out, withdrawing early from huddles, jacking up contested threes, and generally displaying an attitude of a malcontent.

Finally, in December, the Suns jettisoned Ariza to Washington for Kelly Oubre Jr. and Austin Rivers. The Ariza experience was over after just 29 games.

Wow, this was actually depressing. You know what, I take my happy birthday sentiment back from Ariza.

Happy 25th birthday to Tariq Owens from the Valley of the Suns!

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