Metta World Peace is one of those guys I find myself rooting for yet I’m horrified every time he shoots off the dribble or is handling the ball on a fast break. The man formerly known as Ron Artest had an interesting season where we saw the best, the worst and the insane side of him yet again though for the most part he was well-behaved in 2012-13.
Metta came into this season in the best shape of his life and played very well in the early part of the season. From October to December other than Kobe Bryant, World Peace had been the most consistent Laker. Through the first 30 games of the season, Metta averaged 13.5 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1.6 steals a game while shooting well from downtown hitting 36.4 percent of his threes. His field goal percentage was respectable too hitting 42.7 percent overall.
January and February were not so kind to World Peace though. Metta shot an awful 36.2 percent from the field and he only averaged 11.6 points a game through the next 28 games.
Metta even earned a one game suspension for his hit on Detroit Pistons guard Brandon Knight adding to his crazy reputation and his Twitter account continued to be among the most entertaining in the league.
World Peace’s averages for the 2012-13 season were his best since joining the Los Angeles Lakers as he scored 12.7 points, grabbed 5.0 rebounds and though he has lost some steps defensively he still averaged 1.6 steals a game.
Aside from numbers, the main thing that impressed me about Metta World Peace this season is his toughness and his desire to adapt according to the team needs. Metta tore his meniscus in his knee and returned 12 days after to help the Lakers clinch their playoff standing. Typically a torn meniscus can sit a player anywhere from six to eight weeks and sometimes even longer.
Metta is also one of the Lakers players that can always be counted on to play hard at all times and his commitment to returning to the team quickly after his knee injury is proof of this.
It is unclear what his role will be next season if he stays in Los Angeles, 2013-14 will be the last year of his contract and World Peace is set to earn 7.7 million as per his player option. Given the Lakers are way above the luxury tax, Metta may very well be amnestied since this is a player option or asked to return at a lower rate. He will be 34 years old next season and his next contract will possibly be his last.
I’m thinking a bench role might be beneficial for World Peace if he stays with the Lakers. Earl Clark is a younger option at the three who can give Los Angeles a more athletic presence in the starting lineup. Metta with his attitude has shown his willingness to put his stats aside for the betterment of the team in the past and may have to do so again next season.