About a year ago, we all learned about how Ron Artest intentionally tires himself out and ignores gameplans just to make defense harder for him. We had some laughs because of course Ron Artest would do something like that because he’s wackadoodle.
Now it’s 2012 and he’s Metta World Peace. But he’s still the same guy on the inside, and he still has hilarious opinions on defense. From ESPN:
“The defense, I got to bring it back,” World Peace said after practice Thursday, a day after putting up three points, seven assists, five rebounds, two steals and a block while playing a season-high 38 minutes. “I got bored with defense because it was so easy for me to stop people over the years. I got real bored with it. When you’re playing against guys and you’re stopping guys every single time, what else are you going to do [but get bored]? It caught up to me, but this year I’m doing better. This year I’m almost back to where I want to be.”
Well, at least this is intellectually consistent with a guy who seeks out ways to make things more difficult for himself. It makes a ton of sense that if you were bored with defense that you would do stuff that would make it more exciting. It’s like Jack White only wanting to play with equipment from the 1960′s because he likes the challenge of mastering old stuff.
Of course, that’s music and this is professional sports, where it seems like most everyone is doing everything they can to make things easier for themselves. But Metta World Peace isn’t the same as most professional athletes. He’s been so good at defense for so long — he made his first All-Defensive second team in 2003 — that he maybe would get bored. Why wouldn’t he think “this is easy for me?” He changed his name to Metta World Peace. Anything is possible.
The interesting thing is that this is pretty much MWP admitting he hasn’t been as good defensively as he should be. Sure, he’s phrasing it along the lines of he’s been so good for so long that even he takes it for granted, but even that is ceding that he isn’t trying as hard as he should be. Even if he’s bored, like he says, he also seems to have just realized that he still needs to try hard. And considering his defense has fallen off considerably, he’s right about that.
As you’ll see with gifted children, you have to find a way to keep them engaged in school, even when their classes aren’t super challenging. Basically, the Lakers just need to treat Metta World Peace like a very smart, very quirky 11-year-old if they want him to play classic Ron Artest defense. Come to think of it, that’s probably a pretty solid strategy all around.