With or Without You: Trevor Ariza and Wizards Plan B | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

With or Without You: Trevor Ariza and Wizards Plan B

Updated: July 7, 2014

[via flickr user Martin Ringlein]

[via flickr user Martin Ringlein]

The Washington Wizards aren’t the only team that refuses to be completely handcuffed from making moves pending the respective decisions of LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony. The mounting list of agreements between 10 NBA teams (aside from Washington) and 14 players: Avery Bradley with the Celtics; Darren Collison with the Kings; Boris Diaw and Patty Mills with the Spurs; Spencer Hawes and Jordan Farmar with the Clippers; Chris Kaman with the Blazers; Shaun Livingston with the Warriors; Kyle Lowry and Patrick Patterson with the Raptors; Jodie Meeks with the Pistons; Thabo Sefolosha with the Hawks; and Devin Harris and Dirk Nowitzki with the Mavericks.

The Wizards, now almost a full week into NBA free agency, have actually been able to lock down the biggest name on the market not named LeBron, Carmelo, Chris Bosh (or Dwyane Wade, I suppose)—and this is with respect to Dirk Nowitzki, who was always going to return to Dallas. (Also with respect to restricted free agents like Eric Blesoe, Greg Monroe, Chandler Parsons, and Gordon Hayward, or unrestricted-but-will-be-paid-less-than-Gortat free agents like Lowry and Lance Stephenson.)

Marcin Gortat is in the books for a reported five years and $60 million. And while Washington perhaps gave Gortat more than he would’ve been able to get on the market otherwise, with the NBA’s free agency period so frenzied and unpredictable, Ted Leonsis and Ernie Grunfeld were right to not leave such an important player at such an important position to chance. The re-signed Pole, we are reminded, is a young 30 in terms of NBA minutes wear-and-tear, and his best years may very well be ahead of him.

But now that Gortat is no longer a worry, the Wizards are back to playing the waiting game for the second- and third-tier dominos to fall just like everybody else. Although, more signings will certainly trickle in if LeBron and Carmelo’s decisions drag on until late this week.

If Trevor Ariza, Washington’s next top target, had been in love with the contract the Wizards proposed in their initial discussions (and rest assured that numbers have been considered), he would have committed to re-signing already.

Instead, there are several factors at play:

1) The Wizards are less willing to over-commit money to prevent Ariza from walking than they were with Gortat. While Ariza is said to be in the ballpark of a four-year, $40 million player, his camp could be insisting on five years from the Wizards; other teams can’t offer Ariza a five-year contract. The market ultimately might not have as much money as Washington to offer Ariza for four years, anyway (at least without Ariza going to a team in a questionable situation—I would call Cleveland, without LeBron, questionable).

2) Ariza has true interest in playing for either his hometown L.A. Clippers or Lakers, depending on the situation. The Clippers would need to clear room to give Ariza the money he wants, they have already used their full MLE on Hawes (and BAE on Farmar), and Doc Rivers is said to be courting Paul Pierce. The Lakers would need to get a lot better (i.e., sign Carmelo), and it would still be a huge question mark to get Ariza (along with, presumably, Pau Gasol, with Kobe’s contract amount being such a drain on what the Lakers can spend).

3) Ariza wants to see what contenders like Miami and Dallas are willing (and able) to offer him after the James and Anthony dominoes fall. In all likelihood, however, neither team will be able to offer Ariza as much as the floor amount the Wizards are willing to pay him. Ariza is also said to be receiving interest from Cleveland. Reports say the Cavs believe that they could split their cap space between Ariza and Channing Frye if they don’t get LeBron.

The Washington Post‘s Michael Lee has reported that the Wizards have spoken to a number of Plan B options should Ariza walk (one Plan B, Thabo Sefolosa, already signed with the Hawks). The list includes (in alphabetic order): Caron Butler, Luol Deng, Danny Granger, Anthony Morrow, P.J. Tucker, and Marvin Williams. Below, we take each of those five players, in addition to Ariza and Shawn Marion (for good measure), and compare them across several relevant metrics (and shot chart visuals) that are, however, incomplete in terms of the big picture. Immediately below we rank those free agent options for the Wizards per the data later in the post.

 Ranking Washington’s Wing Options:

  1. Trevor Ariza — With apologies to Luol Deng, there’s a reason why Ariza is the top wing, much less 3&D player, that’s on the free agent market. Ariza still has about four years left in his prime, is still as good of a defender as he ever was, and, having set career 3-point shooting seasons in each of the past two seasons with Washington, is a player who some feel has progressed toward a more defined game after relatively disappointing runs with Houston and New Orleans. He has the fourth-best rebound percentage (10.1) and second-best assist percentage (10.8) of those on this list.
  2. P.J. Tucker — Tucker may be presumed shorter but he’s got long arms, is a bull all over the hardwood, and finds his way to the free throw line better than any player on this list. The main issues with Tucker, however, are that he traditionally hasn’t been a trustworthy shooter (but is great at spot-ups in the corners—40.7 percent versus 26.1 percent on 3s above the break), isn’t the best passer, and has never played an NBA playoff game. But Tucker would best fill both the 3&D needs after Ariza—problem is that he’s currently a restricted free agent that would be difficult to pry from Phoenix, especially if the Suns can’t land LeBron.
  3. Luol Deng — Some might rank Deng as the best free agent wing, but first consider wear-and-tear: Deng is barely older than Ariza but has played over 7,000 regular season minutes more than Ariza. Deng is a multi-tooled player, but definitely isn’t the shooter that Ariza has become. Cost will probably be the ultimate factor, as Deng, a former All Star, is asking for upwards of $10-to-12 million a year (and thus is ranked below Tucker in consideration of ultimate potential cost).
  4. Anthony Morrow — He’s probably the best pure shooter on this list, but he’s not strong, not an intelligent defender, and has averaged 2.2 assists per 100 possessions over his career (Nick Young has averaged 2.3). Morrow gets to the free throw line better than only Marion, Butler, and Williams.
  5. Marvin Williams – He found a new role with Utah as a stretch-4 last season, but is not the best passer, barely gets to the free throw line (.139 FTr—13.9 FTAs per 100 FGAs), shoots worse on corner 3s than from above the break (34.5 percent to 37.1 percent), and can’t guard down to wing 3s and 2s as well as Ariza, Tucker, Deng, and Marion.
  6. Shawn Marion — He’s an unlikely option, as Marion is old and probably wants to remain a Maverick (although, reports say that the Mavs might have to choose between Marion and Vince Carter, and that they have been shopping just about everywhere for Marion’s replacement). But, Marion does share an agent, Dan Fegan, with John Wall, Nene, Martell Webster, and Drew Gooden. Marion also shot 35.8 percent from 3-point land last season (third best mark of his career), played 76 games, and his defense and well-roundedness are still better-than-adequate. Meaning, the Wizards could do worse.
  7. Danny Granger — He’s the third-oldest person on this list, and we barely remember who Granger ever was. Now, he’s mostly useful as a spot-up shooter, which could be very useful if he became the 38-to-40 percent 3-point shooter he once was. Washington would rather have someone who might be ‘OK’ at shooting (and younger) while not killing the team on defense. Granger isn’t exactly a rebounder, either (second-lowest rebound percentage on this list after Morrow), and is a below-average passer. Still, John Wall does have a penchant for reversing the course of increasingly listless campaigns. UPDATE: Granger reportedly getting Miami’s bi-annual exception of $4.2 million over two years.
  8. Caron Butler — Tuff Juice is a courtesy option who is as old (34) and bad at defense as ever. Butler mostly became a spot-up and 3-point shooter with Oklahoma, which rarely worked out (39.4 percent on 3s last season but 44.1 percent with OKC). That said, Butler scoring (and minimal ability to create a shot on the move or off the dribble) is still valued, and the Wizards can’t rely on who they’ve got off the bench so far to put up points.

Other names of intrigue would be: Chandler Parsons (probably too expensive and will be kept by Houston once they don’t get LeBron or Carmelo), Brandon Rush (athletic, decent defender, has shown ability to hit 3 in past), Nick Young (too #SoWizards, still so swaggy), James Anderson (waived by Sixers, originally chosen by Spurs 20th overall in 2010, has yet to develop consistent 3-point shot), Francisco Garcia (a gamer for sure, but defense…), Wesley Johnson (let’s disregard this mention as well as anything he’s done with the Lakers, even if he did shoot a career best from 3 last season).


The Comparative Metrics:


Marvin Williams

6-9 – Height
7-3.5 – Wingspan

28.017 – Age
626/18,223 – NBA reg. season minutes/games
42/1,002 – Playoff minutes/games
66/1,674 – Last season minutes/games

.519 – eFG%
.359 – 3P%
.503 – 2P%
.781 – FT%

.377 – Midrange FG% (43-114)
.345 – Corner 3% (19-55)
.371 – Above the Break 3% (65-175)
2.6-7.3 – 3PA/M per 100 poss

.139 – FTr
.445 – 3PAr

11.5 – TRB%
7.7 – AST%

1.7 – STLs/100 poss
1.7 – TOVs/100 poss

[Marvin Williams 2013-14 Season Shot Chart]

[Marvin Williams 2013-14 Season Shot Chart]

P.J. Tucker

6-6 – Height
7-0 – Wingspan

29.062 – Age
177/4,483 – NBA reg. season minutes/games (spent 2007-2012 playing overseas)
0/0 – Playoff minutes/games
81/2,490 – Last season minutes/games

.491 – eFG%
.387 – 3P%
.450 – 2P%
.776 – FT%

.333 – Midrange FG% (29-87)
.407 – Corner 3% (68-167)
.261 – Above the Break 3% (6-23)
1.5-3.8 – 3PA/M per 100 poss

.327 – FTr
.311 – 3PAr

11.9 – TRB%
8.1 – AST%

2.2 – STLs/100 poss
2.1 – TOVs/100 poss

[P.J. Tucker 2013-14 Season Shot Chart]

[P.J. Tucker 2013-14 Season Shot Chart]

Caron Butler

6-7 – Height
6-11.5 – Wingspan

34.115 – Age
786/26,534 – NBA reg. season minutes/games
65/2,044 – Playoff minutes/games
56/1,419 – Last season minutes/games

.485 – eFG%
.394 – 3P%
.395 – 2P%
.840 – FT%

.392 – Midrange FG% (89-227)
.388 – Corner 3% (31-80)
.399 – Above the Break 3% (67-168)
3.6-9.0 – 3PA/M per 100 poss

.139 – FTr
.461 – 3PAr

9.2 – TRB%
9.6 – AST%

1.7 – STLs/100 poss
2.2 – TOVs/100 poss

[Caron Butler 2013-14 Season Shot Chart]

[Caron Butler 2013-14 Season Shot Chart]

Luol Deng

6-8 – Height
7-0.5 – Wingspan

29.081 – Age
677/24,235 – NBA reg. season minutes/games
48/1,932 – Playoff minutes/games
63/2,213 – Last season minutes/games

.465 – eFG%
.302 – 3P%
.468 – 2P%
.791 – FT%

.389 – Midrange FG% (110-283)
.328 – Corner 3% (20-61)
.286 – Above the Break 3% (36-126)
1.3-4.5 – 3PA/M per 100 poss

.312 – FTr
.220 – 3PAr

9.2 – TRB%
14.6 – AST%

1.5 – STLs/100 poss
2.7 – TOVs/100 poss

[Luol Deng 2013-14 Season Shot Chart]

[Luol Deng 2013-14 Season Shot Chart]

Danny Granger

6-8 – Height
7-1.5 – Wingspan

31.077 – Age
556/17,874 – NBA reg. season minutes/games
35/899 – Playoff minutes/games
41/847 – Last season minutes/games

.448 – eFG%
.336 – 3P%
.408 – 2P%
.940 – FT%

.370 – Midrange FG% (27-73)
.395 – Corner 3% (17-43)
.306 – Above the Break 3% (26-85)
2.6-7.8 – 3PA/M per 100 poss

.218 – FTr
.417 – 3PAr

8.8 – TRB%
7.8 – AST%

0.7 – STLs/100 poss
2.8 – TOVs/100 poss

[Danny Granger 2013-14 Season Shot Chart]

[Danny Granger 2013-14 Season Shot Chart]

Shawn Marion

6-7 – Height
6-11 – Wingspan

36.060 – Age
1,106/38,996 – NBA reg. season minutes/games
103/3,812 – Playoff minutes/games
76/2,409 – Last season minutes/games

.523 – eFG%
.358 – 3P%
.518 – 2P%
.785 – FT%

.341 – Midrange FG% (31-91)
.365 – Corner 3% (31-85)
.355 – Above the Break 3% (27-76)
1.2-3.5 – 3PA/M per 100 poss

.092 – FTr
.229 – 3PAr

11.9 – TRB%
7.6 – AST%

1.9 – STLs/100 poss
2.0 – TOVs/100 poss

[Shawn Marion 2013-14 Season Shot Chart]

[Shawn Marion 2013-14 Season Shot Chart]

Anthony Morrow

6-5 – Height
6-10.5 – Wingspan

28.282 – Age
373/8,834 – NBA reg. season minutes/games
0/0 – Playoff minutes/games
76/21,426 – Last season minutes/games

.542 – eFG%
.451 – 3P%
.462 – 2P%
.828 – FT%

.411 – Midrange FG% (72-175)
.461 – Corner 3% (35-76)
.445 – Above the Break 3% (53-119)
3.2-7.1 – 3PA/M per 100 poss

.167 – FTr
.375 – 3PAr

5.7 – TRB%
7.1 – AST%

1.4 – STLs/100 poss
1.9 – TOVs/100 poss

[Anthony Morrow 2013-14 Season Shot Chart]

[Anthony Morrow 2013-14 Season Shot Chart]

Trevor Ariza

6-8 – Height
7-2 – Wingspan

29.006 – Age
632/16,977 – NBA reg. season minutes/games
52/1,462 – Playoff minutes/games
77/2,723 – Last season minutes/games

.562 – eFG%
.407 – 3P%
.509 – 2P%
.772 – FT%

.388 – Midrange FG% (52-134)
.450 – Corner 3% (81-180)
.380 – Above the Break 3% (98-258)
3.4-8.4 – 3PA/M per 100 poss

.226 – FTr
.518 – 3PAr

10. 1 – TRB%
10.8 – AST%

2.4 – STLs/100 poss
2.5 – TOVs/100 poss

[Trevor Ariza 2013-14 Season Shot Chart]

[Trevor Ariza 2013-14 Season Shot Chart]


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Kyle Weidie
Founder / Editor / Reporter / Writer at TAI
Kyle founded TAI in 2007 and has been weaving in and out the world of Wizards ever since, ducking WittmanFaces, jumping over G-Wiz, and avoiding stints on the DNP-Conditioning list. He has covered the Washington pro basketball team as a member of the media since 2009. Kyle currently lives in Brooklyn, NY with his wife, loves basketball, and has no pets.