Once the Lakers were booted out of the playoffs early by the Oklahoma City Thunder, it looked like the torch was being past to the young Thunder. It looked as if the Lakers window of opportunity with Kobe Bryant was closing quickly. Then Los Angeles made a few blockbuster moves to re-open that window once again. The Lakers not only traded for Dwight Howard but LA also added Steve Nash, Antawn Jamison and a few other pieces. Although Metta World Peace disagrees, the road to the NBA Finals still goes through Oklahoma City, but after their moves this offseason the Lakers look like a force in the Western Conference once again after a bit of a down year a season ago.
Metta World Peace joined ESPN Los Angeles with Max and Marcellus to talk about whether he is in better shape right now than he was last year, what he makes of LeBron James and Kevin Durant working out together, what he thinks about the Lakers possibly not having Dwight Howard for the start of training camp, on what the Lakers have to do to get past the Oklahoma City Thunder, what he thinks LA is missing and if he is offended that he is often overlooked when people talk about the Lakers.
Whether he is in better shape right now than he was last year:
“I’m good, really good. Last year I came into with 13.3 percent body fat and this year I’m already at eight percent. The pounds that I weigh is really irrelevant, the body fat really tests where you’re at. It’s really hard to lose body fat and I got down seven percent body fat by the end of the playoffs so I will probably be at around four percent.”
What he makes of LeBron James and Kevin Durant working out together:
“I think that was brilliant. I wish I could’ve participated in that but they’re Nike guys and Nike guys like to stick together. I wish I could’ve participated in that. They’re going to come back so much better I can imagine. I can imagine they’re going to come back so much better than they were last year.”
If he thinks players can learn things from each other by working out against each other:
“Somebody definitely could learn some information but the way the Lakers look initially I can’t see nobody getting past us at all so I don’t think they’re going to have a chance to see each other in the Championship.”
What he thinks about the team possibly not having Dwight Howard at the start of Training Camp:
“We definitely want to beat the Bulls record and go 73-9, that’s definitely something that I want to do. Whoever is out there at the beginning of the season then we gotta get it. It’s as simple as that. We just have to go get it. (Host: So that Bulls record is something you’re thinking about?) No question. You try to snatch records before you leave this earth. You gotta try to do a lot of great things so it’s definitely a goal. With Dwight Howard, (Steve) Nash, Kobe (Bryant), myself, Pau (Gasol) and then (Antawn) Jamison and a lot of great additions it’s something that’s possible.”
What it will take for the Lakers to overtake the Thunder:
“I think people still have to go through the Lake Show. I think everything goes through the Lake Show. We had a bad season last year. If we don’t turn the ball over in a couple of games then we’re up 3-1 in that Oklahoma series, actually up 3-2, going back LA so with that said confidence remains.”
What he thinks the Lakers are missing:
“Nothing. We feel great. I saw Jamison today and people forget that he is one of the best offensive rebounders in the game, he has the best touch out of everybody in the NBA, he has the best touch out of all the big men in the game so you figure a guy like that and then we have some great players off the bench so we’re confident, I trust in myself and I trust in my teammates most importantly.”
If he feels that he gets overlooked when people talk about the Lakers:
“To me, I know I’m definitely one of the best players in the league, there’s no question. I proved that when I got into shape so I don’t need to be, I’m definitely one of the best defensive players to ever play the game so people can deny it if they want but it’s okay. I do my own thing, I market myself in my own way so I really don’t need to be marketed or talked about throughout the outlets because I do that on my own. On this team nobody plays defense like Metta World and nobody in the league plays defense like Metta World so I don’t really need to prove that.”