HOUSTON - The lone Rocket with an NBA title seems right at home in his second go-round with Houston.
Veteran swingman Trevor Ariza could be an X-factor for Houston in the postseason thanks to his ability to defend on the perimeter and hit spot-up 3's.
That was the role in which a young Ariza thrived as a bench player on Kobe Bryant’s Lakers when they won the 2009 NBA championship.
A second round draft pick out of UCLA in 2004, Ariza bounced around early in his career. He played for six different teams over his first 10 professional seasons – including one up-and-down year with the Rockets in 2009-10 – never spending more than two seasons with a single franchise.
Now back in Houston for a fourth straight campaign, Ariza has made a name for himself as a 3-and-D specialist.
He started all 67 games in which he appeared in the regular season, averaging 11.7 points and 4.4 rebounds per contest, while knocking down 36.8 percent of his three-point attempts.
Ariza frequently draws opponents’ top offensive players on the perimeter, and is regarded as one of the toughest players in the NBA.
That is especially important if the Rockets want to make a run to the Finals, as their path through the Western Conference could include the likes of Jimmy Butler (Minnesota); Russell Westbrook, Paul George, and Carmelo Anthony (OKC); Donovan Mitchell (Utah); and the Warriors vaunted roster of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant, and Draymond Green.
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