Ron Artest was acquired by the Los Angeles Lakers through free agency in the summer of 2009. Entering the season there were many questions and concerns following Artest. Many people doubted his ability to behave on and off the court. His previous relationship with star Kobe Bryant indicated that the two would not be able to mesh. Ultimately, the ability of the Lakers to win another title would indicate whether the move was good or bad.
Artest started off the season struggling, as he had yet to find his spot on the team and the triangle offense. In the first month of the regular season, Ron averaged 9.7 points per game. However, as the season progressed and Ron got familiar with his new team, he became more effective and the Lakers were playing great. At the mid-point of the season, Artest averaged close to 11 points per game. The team was also looking very good and had a legitimate shot in winning the best record in the NBA. As the playoffs arrived, the Lakers slipped to the third best record and Artest too was slipping in terms of his play. His numbers were far less superior to Trevor Ariza’s, but he had a chance to prove the world wrong in the playoffs. Ron played pretty well in the first three rounds of the playoffs, but not extraordinary. He had a tough time shooting the ball and was not sharp on the defensive end. Artest’s downfall continued during the first five games of the Finals. The Celtics let Ron shoot threes, and he couldn’t knock them down. Ron stated that if the Lakers lose the title, “Blame it on me.” Artest played brilliant the next two games and his 20 points in Game 7 helped the Lakers win the title.
The 2009-’10 season for Ron Artest featured many ups-and-downs. He started off shaky, found his grove, then struggled again and finally led the Lakers to a title. Some consider Ron to be the MVP of Game 7, and without him the Lakers may not have won the championship. With all that said, I give Ron Artest a grade of a C+ for his play in the season. He may have won the Lakers Game 7, but his inconsistency and poor shot selection definitely hurt them also.
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