Trevor Who? Ron Artest’s Defense Makes Ariza a Distant Memory

I wrote an article yesterday concerning Kobe Bryant and his selection to his eighth NBA All-Defensive team, and many of the commentators voiced their opinion that Bryant was not even the best defensive player on his own team.

Most felt Ron Artest deserved that honor, and to be fair, I couldn't agree more, although the reason Bryant was selected over Artest had more to do with the respective positions of each player, rather than worthiness.

It took Artest a while to get accustomed to the Los Angeles Lakers' style of play, but once he assimilated Artest became all that the Lakers could have ever hoped for, and then some.

The main reason the Lakers coveted Artest was for his defensive reputation and the physical edge he brings as an enforcer, and the more Artest has fit that billing, the less Lakers' fans remember the departed Trevor Ariza.

Ariza was an integral piece of the Lakers' championship of 2009, and many observers felt Los Angeles was getting the short end of the deal in what was basically a swap between the Houston Rockets and Lakers for each player.

Ariza was considered more athletic, quicker and younger than Artest, all of which is true, but the most basic fact people tend to forget is Artest is without a doubt the better player.

This is not a knock on Ariza, because he does have the potential to be a great player in the league, but the one area Artest excels in cancels out all of the energy and athleticism Ariza brought to his role.

Even though the Lakers were able to capture a crown in 2009 the general consensus around the NBA was the Lakers still were in dire need of a defensive stopper, and Ariza was not that guy.

It's not that Ariza doesn't possess the tools to be a great defensive player, but so far he has made his living on athleticism alone, and has shown no real aptitude or discipline for the defensive end of the floor.

Ariza, at 6'8" is the...

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