Ariza’s offensive struggles continue

Ariza’s offensive struggles continue
October 11, 2012, 11:30 pm
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Trevor Ariza's transition with the Wizards to date let's call it bumpy. Or clanking. Let's just not call it smooth, not yet.
 
Against the Knicks in Thursday's preseason game, Ariza missed six of seven shots including all three inside the 3-point arc and finished with seven points. Through two games, Washington's current starting small forward is 3-for-15 from the field with seven turnovers, though six came in the opener at Charlotte.
 
Ideally, the 27-year-old serves as a complimentary player within the starting unit - primary wing defender, fast break partner for John Wall. With the current lineup missing Wall and others, Ariza's tasked with not only being the experienced hand - his eight NBA seasons top the seven combined by Washington's other starters against New York - but also a primary threat.
 
"He’s, I think, trying to fit in," Wizards coach Randy Wittman said following the 108-101 loss to New York. "What he’s doing is determining plays in his mind no matter what the defense is doing, and he can’t do that. He’s got to do a better job."
 
The career 32 percent shooter from 3-point range also must do a better job in his coach's estimation of taking the opportunities presented through the play execution.
 
"I thought one of the first possessions of the game, he had a wide open three, and he turned it down and drove it into three guys and tried to get a shot off," Wittman said. "It’s hard in this league to get an open jump shot, and if we pass up an open jump shot, the next shot is going to be a bad shot, guaranteed."
 
With Wittman and the coaching staff still learning how best to use their many new pieces, both starting and rotational roles are still in flux (at least for those not named John Wall, Nene and likely Emeka Okafor). The coach hinted at changes for Saturday's starting lineup at Cleveland. Regardless of whether he is on court for that opening tap or not, Ariza likely hasn't shot himself out of the first team mix when the games turn real. Still, it would be nice if he could turn those numbers around, like