Mike Brown impresses me as a glass-is-half-full kinda guy. So maybe his decision to bring Metta World Peace off the bench is more a stroke of genius than it is common sense.
No matter how you slice it, the time has come for the Lake Show to face reality. Their window is closing like a used car salesman behind on child care payments. That’s real.
What else is real is that the beginning of the World Peace era could be the end of his days in Los Angeles.
Coach Brown’s decision to give Metta a new role can be viewed in a few different ways.
Naturally the Lakers are in dire need of depth. Trading Lamar Odom did more than get one Kardashian out of Cali. It also left a massive void on the Lakers’ roster. Odom was much more than just a highly effective 6th man. He was a beloved teammate, one man fast break and the most versatile ball player on the planet. Nobody and I mean nobody had any chance of stopping Lamar when he was on his game.
So if Coach Brown thinks he’s going to get a similar spark from World Peace off the bench then he could be either fooling himself or all of us.
World Peace is in decline. Yes, that can be taken in many ways. As it relates to hoops, Metta’s game has dropped like Netflix stock.
After coming off a career worst season Metta did little to nothing to prepare for a pivotal year. When camp finally opened World Peace showed up out of shape.
So now all of a sudden we’re supposed to believe his relegation to the bench is nothing more than a strategic move?
I will give Brown some credit though. While this is most definitely intended to be a wake-up call for the former Ron Artest it is also a decision intended to weed out the weak links of the team.
Last season Artest was a major disappointment. That is an understatement. This year he won’t simply be allowed to underwhelm. He’ll have to earn the right to do so.
Should World Peace produce then Brown’s decision to bring his biggest head case of the bench will prove itself to be a true moment of inspiration. Should it have the opposite effect then Brown will force the hand of Mitch Kupchak. Thus the team improves either way.
Slowly but surely my stance on Coach Brown is changing. He’s making it clear that World Peace won’t be given the benefit of the doubt any longer. Phil Jackson’s approach to handling Ron Ron was proven ineffective in his final year of coaching. That is not a knock in PJ at all. In fact Mike Brown will soon learn the same lesson Phil did. Most methods of motivating Ron or Metta are mainly meaningless.
How will Metta respond to this new role? We’ll see soon enough. This is either the moment Metta reinvents himself or he slides into official obscurity.