The Lakers knew that Metta World Peace would be a question mark coming into the 2012-2013 season. His 2011-2012 campaign was not promising to say the least. He struggled to shoot with consistency from beyond the arc, he lost a step defensively and his in-game shape fluctuated throughout the year. With discussions of being amnestied in the 2012 offseason, Metta knew had to to come back an improved player this season, and he did.
Regular Season Grade: B-
The main factor that led to an improved Metta was having favorable health (until the end of the season of course), and that reflected in his production on the court. From a statistical standpoint, Metta improved in every category across the board with the exception of a few (turnovers and assists). December was the best month of the season for World Peace by posting averages of 14 points, 6.2 rebounds and 1.6 steals during that 14-game span. More importantly, Metta had gained some of his lateral quickness back due to good conditioning and looked exceptional defensively at this point of the year. For a moment it had seemed that the Lakers had gotten back the player formerly known as Ron Artest.
Unfortunately as the season continued, a lot of the habits that tarnished Metta last year were surfacing again, and it was due more to age and mileage on his body rather than being conditioned. The shooting became inconsistent, and while the intensity and effort was still there on defense, it wasn’t effective against elite talent in the league.
When he injured his knee in March and had surgery to repair his torn meniscus, that was virtually the nail in the coffin for his season. Despite the fact that he came back four weeks ahead of schedule, his presence on the floor was not felt. It was surely an unfortunate event for Metta because he had proven to be an improved player.
Playoff Grade: D+
Metta’s lingering injuries held him captive from being a factor in the first round matchup against the San Antonio Spurs. There wasn’t a noticeable impact that he was making in the series, which ultimately was not at the fault of Ron because his body had broken down.
Overall Grade: C+
World Peace certainly exceeded expectations from many in regards to how he performed in the regular season. His horrible 2011-2012 campaign left no kind of optimism that he could be a valuable asset to the Lakers, but he proved that notion wrong. At times his effort and energy inspired the Lakers during crucial stretches of games, as he continually made his presence felt.
The question of whether or not he will remain a Laker next year is one of the more intriguing storylines of this upcoming offseason. Surely, he proved that he still maintains some value to this team, but it may not be worth the cost of his contract.
Regardless, Laker fans know he left it all on the floor as he has done his entire career in a Laker uniform.