At one time Metta World Peace was one of the better all-around players in the NBA. He averaged 20 points per game during the 2007-2008 regular season. He has also been a member of the league’s All-Defensive First Team (2003-2004 & 2005-2006) and Second Team (2002-2003 & 2008-2009). For the 2003-2004 season World Peace was named the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year. Over the last couple of seasons his offensive output has decreased to a career low 5.3 points per game so far this season after scoring 8.5 last year. Not only has World Peace’s offense become near non-existent but the defense he was known for hasn’t been seen often enough. Despite World Peace being 32 his defensive lapses don’t appear to have anything to do with his age or declining physical abilities.
“I got bored with defense because it was so easy for me to stop people over the years,” World Peace said after Thursday’s practice. “I just got bored with it.”
“You’re playing against guys and stopping guys every single time; what else are you going to do?” World Peace offered as an explanation on why he used to be bored. “It caught up to me. This year, I’m doing better. This year, I’m almost back to where I want to be.”
Kobe Bryant apparently understands were World Peace is coming from.
“It’s about finding an edge,” Lakers guard Kobe Bryant said. “You have to find an edge. It’s not something that’s far fetched. He’s a great defensive player. Sometimes it comes too easy. Offensively for me, things are really easy sometimes. The game feels boring. You have to find an edge. You have to find something that is going to push you.”
If the Lakers are going to make a deep run in the playoffs they’ll need Indiana Pacers/Sacramento Kings Ron Artest, not the Metta World Peace that started this season. He was expected to be the leader of Mike Brown’s second unit but has hardly been that to this point. In addition to his defensive intensity needing to increase so will his field-goal percentage (34%). World Peace saying that he’s “almost back” is good, if it leads to him being all the way back soon. But for now almost isn’t good enough for Lakers fans looking at his near $7 million salary for this season.