What once seemed like a late August part fun rumor, part feel good story which wasn’t likely to happen, now seems to have more legs. Could it be the Lakers may really sign Metta World Peace? According to Adrian Wojnarowski, they are getting closer:
Yahoo Sources: Metta World Peace has begun to work out daily at Lakers’ facility, inching closer to a return to franchise on one-year deal.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) September 9, 2015
As I noted when I wrote about the initial reports of the Lakers’ interest in Metta, I did not think he was a particularly good fit. From a roster construction and position crunch standpoint, his addition would seem to be redundant. However, that perspective was shaped mostly by what Ron might provide on the court. Eric Pincus of the LA Times has a different perspective:
This is about Julius Randle folks . . . a teammate can mentor differently than a coach https://t.co/CgjyfrCnav
— Eric Pincus (@EricPincus) September 9, 2015
Metta and Randle have been spending a lot of time in the gym together – Lakers like the relationship/impact thus from from MWP
— Eric Pincus (@EricPincus) September 9, 2015
It should be clarified, Pincus isn’t issuing an opinions on whether this reasoning is sound, he’s simply reporting what he understands the Lakers’ interest in Ron to be rooted in. Still, it’s an interesting angle worth exploring further and, at least, gives more background for a decision than simply how the player fits into the team from a can he/can’t he still play.
The counter argument against the above is, of course, why do the Lakers need another veteran to provide this type of mentoring to Randle? The team already has Kobe and just signed Hibbert and Bass. Kobe has already taken Randle under his wing after the latter broke his leg last year. Bass, meanwhile, plays the same position as Julius and has also said he is coming in to help the team in anyway possible — including by being a resource for the young players. Hibbert, too, can offer some of the same guidance.
Is an additional player really needed for this? Should the Lakers provide a roster spot to an aging player with no future on the team and do so at the expense, potentially, of a young player who might? These are hypotheticals only, but would you rather have Ron or Tarik Black? Ron or Jabari Brown? Ron or Robert Upshaw? We don’t know if this is what it would come down to, but it’s certainly possible this would be the case.
I really don’t have a definitive answer to any of the above questions.
I see value in having a player like Ron mentor Randle. The former built a career on being a fantastic two way player who thrived defensively against some of the best players of his generation. If he could impart some of that wisdom via mentoring in practices, on the bench, and through spirited competition, that is worth something. Whether it would be worth more than investing in a young player who may not have that same experience to impart, but could have more game to offer on the floor next year (and, potentially, beyond) also has some value.
Of course, this is a lot of speculation for something that hasn’t even happened yet. The player isn’t even signed and, even if he were to become signed we don’t know to what kind of deal or how the Lakers would set up the competition for a roster spot in camp. Still, it’s an interesting discussion to have.
lil pau says
These are hypotheticals only, but would you rather have Ron or Tarik Black? Ron or Jabari Brown? Ron or Robert Upshaw? We don’t know if this is what it would come down to, but it’s certainly possible this would be the case.
Since you asked… Tarik>Ron>Jabari. Tarik by a good measure, so I hope it’s not either/or.
I’m not going to weigh in on Upshaw since I feel that the team has so much more information about him than I do, having only watched college highlights and his unimpressive Summer League stint.
Although you didn’t ask… I’d prefer Ron to Kelly or the Bald Guy who does Kung Fu when he dances on the bench.
Personally, I’d rather see him as a coach, but perhaps the team doesn’t want Randle to get manhandled/injured/embarrassed by the Zach Randolphs of the league. Especially if this is about protecting Randle’s confidence, I can see the argument, esp if they feel Bass would be physically overwhelmed…..
It also makes for a better Xmas day matchup against the hated denizen of the wheelchair.
I don’t understand why they don’t bring him on as a special assistant. He could get paid the same, not take up a space, practice with the team and act as a coach (probably wouldn’t be allowed on the bench). You get all the benefit without wasting the space. Just a thought
While I certainly appreciate Eric going to great lengths to share the front office’s thinking behind this potential move, as Kurt Helin pointed out: It really doesn’t any make sense. There are already a ton of veterans on this team,and spots at the end of the roster should be reserved for young guys who may blossom into NBA caliber players (especially on a Lakers team that needs to continue to be in asset acquiring mode).
I went back and forth a little bit with Eric, and he concluded our twitter convo by essentially saying: Wouldn’t having MWP on the roster be worth it if it meant that there was a chance, even a small one, that it helped Randle become a special player? Personally, I just don’t see it. Randle becoming special is dependent on an infinite number of variables (some more important than others), and MWP’s influence would seem to be on the extremely low end of that spectrum.
At the expense of the Upshaw gamble, no. But lose Kelly and Sacre and I am all aboard the Crazy Pills train. If Randle truly has the drive that has been mentioned before, Metta is the spirit guide for him.
it’s been a few years since MWP was a viable NBA player. it seems it would be better for Lakers to make him a special ass’t coach rather than taking up a roster spot, if the team thinks he would so valuable to Randle’s growth. if he’d rather be in China or somewhere else, than he should go there. Lakers have plenty of veterans already and Randle can lean on them if needed.
I respect the power and experience of Ron, and would think he would be a fantastic mentor to Randle. That said, IF, signing him has any effect on losing Upshaw, with his great potential, then it doesn’t add up to a sound decision.
The Lakers can always hire Ron, vs signing him.
Laker uruguayo says
Desconozco el estado físico y la capacidad atlética actual de “el artista antes llamado Ron Artest”. No obstante, si se parece a su última versión en LAL, debemos considerar:
1. Es un SF genuino y experiente.
2. A un equipo con dificultades defensivas, le aporta su defensa tenaz. Hibbert no estará tan solo.
3. Temple y fortaleza anímica. MWP sumó mucho al último campeonato, más allá de que algunos extrañan a Ariza.
4. Si fantaseamos con la llegada de Durant, un contrato de un año es ideal.
Siempre pensamos en cuánto afecta a los jugadores jóvenes. Si Holmes, Frazier, Upshaw, Jabari Brown y Tarik Black valen lo que creemos que valen (lo tienen que demostrar), los que parecen correr riesgos si no dan el salto de nivel son Sacre, Young y Kelly.
Gracias por el espacio, y Go Lakers!
Can`t see it. Maybe the FO sees something,but I would rather have a young development player at the end of the bench. I am curious about his condition and skills,but he has a lot of miles.
he’s been practicing with the team for quite some time.
this is not a story.
if he actually got a contract, there would be a reason. just because he works out with the team is no reason to assume that he’s about to get hired. Lakers alumni often work out with the team before camp starts. it doesn’t turn into a contract very often…
I like the idea. MWP always plays hard on both ends and that’s an invaluable attribute to teach the younger kids and even slightly older guys guys like Hibbert could use a dose of what MWP can teach about effort but more importantly there’s not one guy on this team that would echo Kobe’s ferocity he brings to the game, MWP would, plus he has Kobe’s utmost respect and that goes along ways with a younger squad in search of an identity.
When you have one guy laying it on the line the message gets lost when you have two guys that have been in the wars and won titles together then people start paying better attention.
Finally it gives the team another guy who knows what it means to execute in crunch time and that’s another message that hard to convey to a young/inexperienced roster.
I don’t think taking playing time away from Nance, Sacre or Kelly is any great loss since none of those guys are keepers anyways, I know some are high on Nance but I don’t see.
He could be a coach but that would be wasting MWP’s greatest attribute in his ability to show what it takes to play a hard game every game
If Metta can foster in Randle on a daily basis:
– physicality without fouling
– individual+team defense
– getting under the other team’s skin
Then yes, having Metta having this effect **on a starter** would pay dividends well beyond having a depth player/building project that probably won’t crack the regular rotation.
Let’s not forget that a building project like Upshaw takes up coaching/mentoring/teaching resources. This is why I think Mitch mentioned about being careful to not take on too many rookies at once.
Darius is right in that there’s Bass, Hibbert, and Kobe to mentor Randle. But I imagine that Kobe and Hibbert will be more focused on the overall team (not to mention the other 2 youngs in Clarkson & Russell). Bass will be a good mentor but by Darius’ own admission he’s not a great defensive player. Metta would be able to give Randle daily mentoring especially on individual and team defense (things we sorely need), as well as all the little details that Metta did during our championship runs. (Like hoovering up a certain missed shot by Kobe and putting it back in…)
The special assistant designation is a good idea, and one maybe the Lakers have considered as a backup. The front office has done well in giving itself plenty of options and each has its own risks/benefits. I’m pretty confident in the front office’s ability to lay all the options out and make a good decision.
It seems to me that says
this would just be a camp invite. If he has something worthwhile left and beats out one of the expendable players–J. Brown, Black, Kelly, Sacre–not to mention the other camp invites, which no one should view as the likely outcome (so let’s not panic in the second week of September about this), then he would have earned his place. All this means is that, if the expendables and the other camp bodies want to make the roster, the competition just got a little more interesting. That’s a good thing.
– Score one for Mr Bryant, who absolutely loves the idea of MWP’s return to the Lakers.
Briefly just wanted to mention that Ron’s effect wouldn’t just be on Randle but also on our weakest position SF. We have multiple young players who need a war vet on the team and floor to help steady the ship for all these inexperienced hands. A sacrifice of one spot seems worthwhile for the greater good. His influence will affect the core and that core doesn’t consist all 14-15 players. Someone isn’t going to be there long term anyway better to sacrifice them now save the time & money of development (probably to be benefitted by another team) and invest it in a low cost battle tested vet who will directly and indirectly provide benefit to the team this year and beyond (influence on young core players). Steel sharpens steel. No offense to Hibbert or Bass but they can’t teach championship killer instinct or mentality. Lastly, just maybe….Ron can extract something more serious and defense oriented out of Swaggy before the decision is made to cut ties with him. That’s a big maybe I know but maybe Metta can turn Swaggy into Nick Young an all around player well at least on the court. At least worth the shot and roster spot IMO.
Note: For his size MWP was not a great rebounder. If Randle plays the Three then pulling down 6 boards a game (MWP’s career high water mark) then fine. If Randle plays the Four he better be near double digits. Kobe at the Three won’t board, Hibbert will only contribute 7 (his average the last two seasons and Bass hasn’t average 6 boards in 4 years. Someone has to rebound!
My fear for this year is that the Lakers will get crushed on the boards. Adding this to the fact that we have so many ball dominant offensive players — Yikes, we are going to have issues on both sides of the ball.
I see another George is posting. If the comment is snarky or acerbic with a hint of disrespect for FO then its me not the other guy.
Robert Fisher says
Best line in all the posts.
“if the expendables and the other camp bodies want to make the roster, the competition just got a little more interesting.”
And Todd’s point on rebounding misses one thing that I believe it was Darius who wrote before. An unusual point about Hibbert’s low defensive rebounding numbers is he is known to block out opposing rebounders so his teammates can rebound and immediately head down court. With Randle, Kobe, Clarkson, Russell, and others who can rebound and go, this is a good thing.