In three games with the Trailblazers, Trevor Ariza has a 7-point game that no one saw or cared about, and two 21-point games performed in front of a national TV audience. Which means there are a TON of ultra-casual NBA fans out there who know way more than they ever thought they would about him, and they think he’s a damn good role-player. Possibly a fringe All-Star starter. But their knowledge is, due to circumstances, incomplete. They don’t know that he was totally washed-up in Sacramento. They don’t even know that he was in Sacramento. A few of the more astute casuals realize that he was on the Rockets once upon a time and that this game was his attempt to get revenge on the team that dumped him.
Note: maybe I’m the casual here, but I don’t even remember the circumstances of his departure from the Rockets. Did he just sign a new contract with the Suns and that was it? Did the Rockets even try to retain him? NBA transactions aren’t something I can show in highlight videos, so I have a very poor memory for them.
Anyway, Ariza has already shown more value in Portland than he did for his whole stint in Sacramento. This is not an exaggeration. His first 21-burger didn’t result in a win, but this one did, and his other game where he didn’t even score, he must’ve been doing something right because he played over 30 minutes and the Blazers won. This team must have some sort of magical touch that makes washed-up players good; first Carmelo (although he was probably not super washed-up, just blackballed from the league for not playing defense anymore) and now Ariza. Maybe add Hassan Whiteside to that list, but I still can’t figure that dude out at all. Is he even good? Was he ever not good? Was he ever good?