Trevor Ariza was one of the many players who reunited with the Los Angeles Lakers in free agency as the team targeted veterans who have experience as role players on contending teams.
Ariza, of course, was a valuable member of the 2009 Lakers championship team and although he is far past his prime at this point, he should reprise a similar role as a defender and outside shot maker. Ariza himself is not concerned with his role for the 2021-22 season, but he figures to play an important part as Los Angeles appears short on credible perimeter defenders.
The forward is joined by a motley crew of fellow veterans that have all seen their fair share of things in the NBA and Ariza acknowledged that their collective experience should be able to help them win a championship.
“I believe the upside to that is we’ve all seen so much in this league that nothing surprises,” Ariza said. “We understand how long the season is. How to pace yourself, how to take care of your body. Understanding how important it is for everybody to be on the same page to get to that ultimate goal and that’s winning the championship at the end of the year.”
For contending teams, the regular season is often treated as more of a formality and the time for the roster to acclimate to each other and build chemistry. While younger teams will be looking to grow and develop, the Lakers will be focused on getting in the proper shape for the postseason and making sure everyone’s on the same page.
When you have players like LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Russell Westbrook leading the way it makes everyone else’s lives easier, so players like Ariza should be able to thrive in whatever role they are asked to play. Although the Purple and Gold walk into the upcoming season as the elder statesmen of the league, they have an excellent opportunity to prove they have plenty left in the tank and hopefully come away with the franchise’s 18th title.
Russell Westbrook called Trevor Ariza after being traded to Lakers
Even at 36 years old, Ariza surely had a market but Westbrook made sure to give him a call to join the Lakers after the guard was traded. Fortunately for L.A., Ariza was already leaning toward joining and the rest is history.
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