Since arriving in Los Angeles in 2009, Metta World Peace has had some positive moments with the Lakers. His role in bringing the Lakers their last NBA title certainly can’t be overlooked. But overall, his time in Hollywood has been a mixed bag full of inconsistency. World Peace has dealt with a variety of injuries and is no longer the player that he once was as age continues to catch up to him. However, every now and then World Peace shows flashes of Ron Artest and why the Lakers went out a few years ago and brought him to Los Angeles. A few of those moments have happened recently, right in time for the playoffs. World Peace looks healthy again and while Kobe Bryant has been resting an injured shin, World Peace has picked up the slack offensively with 19 points per game over his last four and he has found the three pointer that looked left behind in Houston. World Peace has lost a step on defense, his points per game overall are the lowest of his career, but he looks more engaged recently and if he can play anywhere close to the level that he has shown early in April, the Lakers will have another weapon on offense and it will give them a great chance to come out of the Western Conference.
Metta World Peace joined ESPN Radio in Los Angeles with Mason and Ireland to talk about the play of the team the other night against San Antonio, how his game changes when Kobe is out, on working more in the post recently, whether he has talked to Lamar Odom since he split from the Mavericks, and slowing the tempo down this year to fit their style better.
On the play of the team the other night against San Antonio:
“I think the point guards did a good job. The point guards, (Ramon) Sessions not really being in the playoffs and Steve (Blake) not really being in the playoffs a long time, it’s a different feel for the playoffs and you have to understand the tempo and you have to understand your teammates. They did a great job of adjusting to every group that was out there. We played really well in Phoenix. People don’t know that but we played really well but it just wasn’t our tempo, the same thing with Houston. We played really well but with the turnovers and it wasn’t our tempo. The New Orleans game, they weren’t as good of a team but the tempo was great and it helped us get back in the game, we never panicked.”
How his game changes when Kobe is out:
“Well you know I can adjust. I can play defense, I can get deflections, I can score, whatever is needed. I work on my game to have a total game, not just to score, not just to play defense. If Kobe wasn’t out there I’ve been in situations where I’ve had to take over plenty of times in the NBA. I’ve done this countless times. It’s not something where I’m shy or afraid to do. I’m not afraid to go and knock down big shots or play ball. I know how to do that really easy.”
On working more in the post recently:
“The last couple of years I’ve had that back issue so it was hard for me to do what I want or normally what Ron Artest does but I’ve played against many teams where they put bigger guys on me, power forwards and when I’m at my ‘A’ game there is nothing they can do. Absolutely nothing nobody can do. Even when I played against the Lakers in Houston they tried Trevor (Ariza) and there is nothing you can do when I’m playing my game. You don’t have a chance, you don’t have a chance.”
Whether he has talked to Lamar Odom since his split from the Mavericks:
“Not really because it’s normal. It’s just basketball and I haven’t spoken to him about it. Lamar is a great person and I’ve known him for a long time. He’s always been a team guy, a really good friend and he’s just going through something and it’s okay. He’ll be back playing ball and it’s not really a big issue to me or feel the need to have to call him because he’s not playing for Dallas you know?”
On the Lakers slowing things down a bunch this year:
“It’s not necessarily slowing it down because you never know who is out there. It’s about the point guards and us, the veterans playing, the five that are out there, playing to our strengths. That’s why I was so proud of Sessions. He caught on in a day. To the veterans fault we didn’t tell him this early, we just told him this a couple of days ago and he mastered it.”