Monday, July 8, 2013

2012-2013 Lakers in Review #7: Metta World Peace

Taken from the 09-10 season, before
everyone hated Dwight Howard
Much like at Mike Scioscia's Tragic Illness, Hack-a-Shaq will have end of the year reviews.

Same rules apply as grades are handed out according to pre-season expectations vs. actual production. 

Small Forward/Power Forward: Metta World Peace

12.4 PPG, 1.5 APG, 5.0 RPG, 3.0 WS, .086 WS/48 on 40.3% shooting and 34.2% shooting from three point range. Grade: C+

2012-2013 in brief: World Peace was coming off of two bad seasons in a row and was an obvious candidate to receive the Lakers' Amnesty clause. He had his best offensive output since the 2009-2010 NBA season when he was on the Houston Rockets.

2014 status: One year left on his contract, is owed 7.7 million for his contract year. 


Metta World Peace is an interesting case, to say the least. A fan favorite because of his eccentric, to say the least, behavior over his long career. His time in Los Angeles alone includes:

* Changing his name from Ron Artest to Metta World Peace (Ironic because he is possibly the most violent player of the modern NBA era).  

* Tossing former Laker Trevor Ariza's shoe into the media section of the court.

*Thanking his psychiatrist after the Lakers won the 2010 NBA Finals.

*Making a rap song titled "Champions" after the Lakers won the 2010 NBA Finals

*Going on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" wearing nothing but his boxer briefs

*Elbowing then Oklahoma City Thunder guard James Harden in the head while celebrating a dunk

*Getting surgery on his left knee that was supposed to sideline him for 6 weeks; he ended up missing 12 days (this is the same injury ended OKC's Russell Westbrook's season).

It's safe to say that Metta is the oddball of the Laker family and that's perfectly fine if it doesn't affect on court production. It certainly didn't this past season, as he put up the best numbers he's had in his time with Los Angeles. 

Always known for his excellent defense, World Peace has declined on the perimeter thanks to a combination of old age and gaining muscle weight throughout the last two seasons (which has made World Peace a decent low post defender capable of giving the Lakers minutes at the power forward position). While World Peace is no longer an All-NBA defensive player, his offensive production was a nice surprise from last year. 

World Peace is possibly the streakiest player in the NBA; never afraid to shoot, he sometimes pushes his team over the top with hot 3 point shooting and other times, keeps the team back while jacking up missed shot after missed shot. That said, his offense was something the Lakers sorely needed this season thanks to injury; World Peace, for the most part, delivered. A 34.2% FG percentage from three point range is not bad at all; the only problem was World Peace would keep shooting, even if other players were in better position to score, or he was missing a bunch of shots, or it was heavily contested, or.. well you get the point. World Peace's shoot first, pass later mentality was something the Lakers had to live with, and it often wouldn't work out so well, evidenced by his very inefficient 40.3% from the floor. At the very least, Metta found ways of putting the ball into the bucket, being 3rd on the Lakers in total points scores with 929 and 5th in points per game with 12.4.

World Peace's season was similar to that of Jodie Meeks; inconsistency from the perimeter combined with some awful decisions with the ball leading to a below average WS/48. And inconsistent is the perfect word to describe World Peace last year, as he was sometimes brilliant in his decision making and play making, while other times making awful, rookie mistakes. 

World Peace was one of the few Lakers to play 75 or more games this past season, so while he was incredibly inconsistent, at the very least, World Peace provided some stability in the rotation while he was healthy enough to play and he put up better-than-expected numbers. With some fine tuning to his shoot first mentality, World Peace can become a much better role player for the Lakers.

I expected a massive decline out of World Peace this season, age combined with some awful previous seasons had me believing World Peace's career was coming to a close. Overall, World Peace was a pleasant surprise in a season full of unpleasant ones. Let's just hope he can keep it together for next year.