Trevor Ariza: How the Ex-Orlando Player Will Alter the 2009 NBA Finals

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Trevor Ariza: How the Ex-Orlando Player Will Alter the 2009 NBA Finals
(Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

Meet Trevor Ariza. Ariza, originally drafted by the New York Knicks, played in New York for justt one and a half years, before being traded with Penny Hardaway to Orlando, for Steve Francis

But, he wasn't the nightly highlight reel he is today when he was with Orlando or New York. Just your average role player, Ariza averaged about 17 minutes per game with the Magic, and started in 22 total games with New York.

Ariza played in just 11 games in his last year with Orlando, before being traded to Los Angeles for players Brian Cook and Maurice Evans. Ariza would play in just 24 games for the Lakers in the 2007-2008 season.

However, this year as a part-time starter, Ariza blossomed in Los Angeles. Ariza played in all 82 games for the first time in his career, and started in 20 of them. Ariza averaged 8.9 points per game, shot 46 percent from the floor, and averaged 1.7 steals per game.

Ariza's athleticism and great defense granted him his 24.4 minutes per game with the Lakers this year. The former UCLA Bruin also scored a career high of 26 points, against the Mavericks earlier this year.

The small forward, who was drafted in the second round by the Knicks in 2004, has played exceptionally well in the 2009 NBA Playoffs. Ariza is averaging 30 minutes per game, 11.4 points per game, and 1.5 steals per game. 

In his first playoff game of this year, Ariza dropped 21 points on the Utah Jazz, shooting eight for ten, and three for four from the three point line. Later in game against the Denver Nuggets, Ariza scored 20 points and had four steals.

In the 2009 NBA Finals, Ariza will be facing his former team. In a surprising matchup, the Lakers will take on the Orlando Magic.

It is surprising, because the number three-seed Orlando Magic upset LeBron James' one-seeded Cleveland Cavaliers in six games. Surprising, because the NBA seemed to "want" a LeBron vs. Kobe NBA Finals. It's surprising that the Magic just smacked Cleveland in the mouth, and easily took the series.

However, Los Angeles will certainly not take Orlando lightly. Ariza will likely be guarding Turkey's pride and joy, Hedo Turkoglu. 

Turkoglu averaged nearly 17 points per game with Orlando this year, but also averaged 2.7 turnovers per game, something Trevor Ariza will be able to exploit.

Trevor Ariza has started every single game for the Lakers this postseason, and has been nothing short of spectacular. The high-flying Ariza will certainly be the Los Angeles Lakers' X-Factor in the NBA Finals, and will likely be taking home his first championship ring ever.

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