The Los Angeles Lakers have been struggling this season and are 14-15 in what has been a very inconsistent season, one play whoever that has remained consistent is Metta World Peace.
This season the forward has been averaging 13.8 points in what is clearly his best season in the Lakers jersey.
Previously the man known as Ron Artest played in two seasons where he has not played anywhere near his expected standards only showing brief glimpses of his skill and strength.
What we are seeing this season is the vintage Ron Artest, with hustle, energy and drive on the court has been one of the few consistencies in the Lakers season. It has been World Peace’s offensive and defensive plays that often times sparked a comeback or allowed them to remain in the game.
“Usually when opponents put guys on me, they’re able to take a break,” World Peace said.
“I’m just not used to guys trying to take a break on me. Over my career, they always put the best defender on me. Now, lately guys have been trying to put the worst defender on me and take a break, but no, I got to make these guys work and actually give them work. Not even make them work, just give them work.”
During the Christmas day victory over the New York Knicks World Peace dazzled the crowds with his defensive form, his clutch scoring and consistent energy levels.
The ten points he knocked down against the Denver Nuggets was the ninth consecutive game that he has recorded double digits. At times in games he has proven to be the go to guy, especially when Kobe Bryant has been off the court to knock down vital three pointers which are becoming a familiar sight this season.
World Peace has shown fresher legs, which has a lot to do with his commitment to getting healthy and in shape, that have affected his ability to knock down shots by creating space or by quickly aligning his body with the basket on catch-and-shoot plays. Additionally, another positive affect to his conditioning is his ability to get to the rim, which was essentially non-existent last season. He is willing to drive the ball and take contact in order to get a higher percentage shot
You know you are a vital point in the team when you receive praise from Kobe who said,
“Metta has been a lot, lot more vocal
“A lot more vocal in helping me with the leadership and making sure guys have that intensity and attention to detail and the toughness.
“He’s been extremely, extremely vocal.”
With things initially looking up for the Lakers at last this season it is imperative that World Peace does not see his performance and energy levels slip.