Los Angeles Lakers: 10 greatest small forwards in Lakers history
No. 10: Ron Artest/Metta World Peace
A fan favorite mostly because of his quirky personality and willingness to speak his mind, Artest was the last reasonably big name free agent to sign with the Lakers.
An exceptionally strong man, he was particularly known for his outstanding defense. Before joining the Lakers he was a former Defensive Player of the Year and was chosen to five All-NBA Defensive Teams. His defense may not have quite reached that level with LA, but he still found ways to be effective and to frustrate opponents.
Also, he was no longer the offensive force that he once had been. In his last seven seasons before coming to the Lakers he had averaged 15.5 points or better, including a career-high 24.6 in 2004-05 with Indiana.
In his first four seasons with the Lakers, Ron averaged just under 10 PPG. But he will always be remembered for two big shots in his first season during the 2010 playoffs: a buzzer-beating follow-up of a Kobe Bryant miss that won Game 5 against Phoenix, and a huge 3-pointer in the final minutes of Game 7 of the Finals to secure a title win over the Celtics.
In 2011, Artest legally changed his name to Metta World Peace. He was waived by the Lakers in 2013 but joined them for two more seasons a year later. This time around, he was mostly a veteran presence for the younger players and didn’t get much court time. Overall in six Lakers seasons, he averaged 8.9 PPG.