Ariza's virtuoso performance in Game 4 had me thinking about his status among all-time great small forwards for the Wizards.
The Wizards changed from the Bullets in 1995 so that is a good starting point. Bernard King may have the title among Bullets but that is another discussion. Wanted to keep it in the last 20 years or so.
The discussion probably starts with Caron Butler. Butler played 5 seasons w/ the Wizards from 2005-10. He averaged over 20 PPG twice and was always over 17 PPG. He formed the dynamic trio with Arenas and Jamison. Butler really cultivated his "tough juice" persona. Probably would give him the nod. After that, who knows?
To date, Ariza has not had a statistically better season than Butler. But his consistency, toughness, and defense may put him at No. 2. During the regular season among SFs per game, he ranked 13th in PPG, 10th in rebounding, 13th in assists, 4th in steals, and was 2nd (tied w/ Paul George) behind Durant in 3-pointers. I can't think of a better defender at SF than Ariza, maybe George and LeBron James. He his having a great year.
It will be interesting to see if the Wizards re-sign Ariza. I love his game. It is a perfect fit. There are 2 problems. First, he may be too expensive. It would be tough to pay Webster and Porter as SFs. Second, it's easier to find a cheap replacement (see Porter or Webster). I would re-sign him at the right price.
Hope Ariza comes up with another 30 points in the playoffs. Then, he may be considered the best.