At some point Metta World Peace was going to have a conversation with Ron Artest. Since he arrived in Los Angeles Metta has made more headlines for his one failed week as a dancer than he has for his play. That is something Ron Artest would never stand for. So, Metta had a heart to heart with his former self and got back to the business of ball.
Over the last seven games World Peace has rediscovered his inner Artest, dropping 14 a game while shooting 54% from the field. But more important than the stats, Metta’s activity level is back to the ways of Artest.
When this season began World Peace reported to camp out of shape, was dealing with lingering injury issues and was even contemplating retirement. All of those factors were key contributors to his declined production which had reached career lows across the board. For the most part Metta was completely invisible. Opposing defenses left him alone on the perimeter daring the Lakers to pass him the ball.
We saw a few Artest appearances during the season. Certainly Metta’s harassment of Blake Griffin during an epic battle with the Clippers was very Artestian. Problem was those moments were few and far between.
Many will cite the absence of Kobe Bryant as the biggest reason for the reemergence of Ron Ron. Truth be told the Ron revival was underway before Kobe took seat to rest his shin.
Now the real question is how long will we be graced by the presence of Artest in his Metta form?
In order for the Lakers to make this playoff performance more tolerable than last season it’s going to take added contributions from unexpected sources. World Peace seems to have a knack for coming up big in key moments. That, of course, is only a factor if the Lakers get to a point where heroics are necessary. Even though he might exist in spirit only, Ron Artest is very much the X-factor for the Lake Show this postseason. As for Metta World Peace…we’re still waiting for his signature moment to occur.