As if there weren’t already enough controversial players on the New York Knicks roster, Glen Grunwald managed to make one of his last moves a memorable one by signing Metta World Peace to a contract worth way less than what he’s worth on the open market.
Of course, money really wasn’t an issue for World Peace, after all he was amnestied by the Los Angeles Lakers and they will still pay him the $7.7 million dollars he is owed in 2013-2014. It is a homecoming for World Peace who grew up in the Queensbridge projects in Queens and played his college ball at St. Johns, where he was a defensive standout that earned a first round draft pick in 1999. After being drafted by the Bulls at number 16 overall, the artist formerly known as Ron Artest had a controversial career filled with scuffles on the court, fighting with his own teammates, a trade request, and controversy in multiple front offices. He comes to the New York Knicks following a 4 year stint in Los Angeles where he won a ring alongside Kobe Bryant and Phil Jackson in the 2010 NBA playoffs when the Lakers defeated the Boston Celtics in 7 games.
Metta World Peace’s best playing days are without a doubt behind him. After all, he is 33 years old now and has played 16 NBA seasons. However, World Peace keeps himself in amazing shape and is still among one of the NBA’s best perimeter defenders. At 6’7″ and around 250 lbs, World Peace has the ability to defend multiple positions on the court, which is all made possible by his wingspan which is above 7’0″. He was brought in to be a stopper of sorts for the Knicks, who needed better defense down the stretch of many games last year. Head Coach Mike Woodson must be salivating at the though of a possible perimeter defensive unit of Pablo Prigioni, Iman Shumpert and Metta World Peace, not to mention having Tyson Chandler and Kenyon Martin in the paint.
World Peace will also be an asset on offense because he has the ability to stretch the floor which will give the Knicks yet another perimeter option for a Knicks team that was tops in the NBA at three point attempts and three pointers made per game. Add in a clicking Andrea Bargnani to the mix and the Knicks might only shoot threes next season. Yet I expect a solid amount of interior play for the Knicks, not from their big men, but from guys like Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith with their explosive ability to finish at the rim.
By the numbers Metta World Peace did not have a great season, but was all around solid. he averaged 12.4 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.5 assists, and 1.6 steals per game. He posted aPlayer Efficiency Rating (PER) of 12.55 which is not very good, but playing less minutes should increase his PER with the Knicks. This year, his numbers on the offensive end should be better percentage wise because he will not be a primary scorer on the New York Knicks.
When examining Metta World Peace’s shot chart, he is average from the perimeter, but hits a majority of the shots he takes inside of 15 feet. He is equally balanced from both sides of the floor, but seems to shoot poor from the center portion of the court just outside of the free throw line. He seems to prefer to shoot from either corner spot on the floor. Another concerning part is that a majority of Knicks players do not finish well around the rim. Part of that could be that they are so used to shooting from the outside.
In his return home I expect Metta World Peace to post similar numbers to his last season on the Los Angeles Lakers. Depending on minutes played, he will post something along the lines of 9-12 points, 4-6 rebounds, 1-3 assists and 1-2 steals per game. He will be a fan favorite because of his hard-nosed defense and all out effort he will put forth throughout the season. No matter what name he goes by here in New York (on a side note I prefer Queensbridge as his nickname), expect World Peace to be a contributor on both ends and a major part of the Knicks having another successful season.