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The Wizards need Trevor Ariza to finish strong

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NBA: Washington Wizards at San Antonio Spurs Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Daily Digits is a new daily feature we’re doing at Bullets Forever this year where we look at stats about the Wizards. We’ll dive into the numbers, add context, and discuss how they affect the product on the court.

Today’s stat is Trevor Ariza’s shooting percentage on shots inside the restricted area since joining the Wizards, which is...

51.8%

There’s no question Trevor Ariza has brought a sense of stability to the Wizards’ offense. The team is averaging 110.8 points per 100 possessions when he’s on the floor, which is an above average rate for an NBA offense.

Ariza is a much more consistent outside shooter than Kelly Oubre Jr., which has helped Washington space the floor better. You’d think Ariza would also be better at knowing when to attack the rim, given each player’s pedigrees, but that’s not exactly the case. Oubre is 113-for-191 (59.1 percent) on shots in the restricted area. 31 of his 78 misses were blocked. Ariza is 74-for-147 (50.3 percent) and he’s had 20 of his 73 misses blocked.

I’m not shocked that Oubre is getting to the rim more often, but it surprised me how ineffective Ariza has been at the rim. Only three players who have attempted at least 100 shots in the restricted area are shooting worse than Ariza this season. Playing two months in the Suns’ offense hurt those numbers, but even if you just take his percentage in Washington (51.8 percent), only nine players are shooting it worse than Ariza.

No one is expecting him to explode at the rim he did in his early days, but he can do a better job of picking the right times to attack. He’s made too many drives where he’s tried to force a shot over a taller, stronger defender or come in so hot that he can’t make a good finish off the glass.

For as much as Ariza has done to stabilize the Wizards’ offense, we can’t ignore his struggles at the rim. Ariza has to get better at finishing in the paint to help Washington find a happy ending to this season.