Luckily, we don’t have to try to understand the inner workings of Artest—we just have to understand what his role on the team is. For now, it’s that of a role player. If Bryant wasn’t a Laker, it would be Pau Gasol’s team. If neither was on the squad, the go-to guy would be Lamar Odom. Artest has gotten the opportunity to be the high-scorer on a nightly basis, but as a Laker has been limited to spot-up shooting and the occasional run at the basket when the other team’s defense falters on offense. The only constant the Lakers were expecting to get from him was on defense.
With the trade deadline looming and coming to an end in a few short hours, the likelihood is that Artest will stay at least for the remainder of the season and try for another fun at the finals.
While fans have been waiting for Artest to perform at the level he did last night, if you ask him, he didn’t do anything different than what he had been doing on previous nights. The accolades bestowed upon him left him unfazed. For Artest the season, much like it is for the rest of the team, is about the bigger picture—what happens in June. He’s just as indifferent to talk about his performance after a loss as he is after a win.
It’s all the same for Ron Artest.
“I always feel comfortable,” Artest said. “I always feel confident. I always feel good. Just because you play bad one game, you can’t blame it on anything. You have to feel the same way. Eat the same breakfast every morning, you can’t change that much.”