Trevor Ariza Moves Into the Starting Lineup

It's funny how things work out. One game removed from committing a flagrant foul during the Lakers' loss in Portland and getting ejected, Trevor Ariza was not only back in the lineup after avoiding a suspension for the play, but he got a promotion: Ariza replaced Luke Walton in the starting lineup.

This wasn't a demotion for Walton by any means, and in fact, it was his idea.

"I came to [Phil Jackson] with the idea that it might help the team more if I was playing with the second unit and was able to facilitate some stuff," Walton said. "He said he had been thinking about it himself and that it was a good idea and that he would think about it and let me know. And today, he let me know."

It makes a lot of sense, especially since Odom moved into the starting lineup after Andrew Bynum went down with the knee injury. Odom was the one that essentially ran the team with the second unit, and Walton is considered one of the most knowledgeable when it comes to the ins and outs of the triangle offense.

Ariza had a solid night in his new role, and finished with eight points, six rebounds, three assists, and two steals. Walton had eight points, five rebounds, and two assists, playing 24 minutes to Ariza's 30. Walton, however, was on the floor for all 12 minutes of the fourth quarter.

Since the move seemed to work out well for both players and the team as a whole, Phil Jackson said he'll stick with it for now. With Lamar Odom returning for the team's showdown with the Spurs on Thursday, the Lakers will have two players that were previously a part of their "Bench Mob" in the starting lineup.

It will be interesting to see if Walton and what's left of the reserves will be able to keep it together without them.

Copyright FREEL - NBC Local Media
Contact Us