The 2011-2012 NBA season has been one of change for a certain Los Angeles Lakers small forward. After starting 721 of 763 games in the first 12 years of his career as Ron Artest, the new Metta World Peace has adjusted to life as a sixth man this season.
World Peace is averaging just 5.9 points and 20.8 minutes per game so far this season while shooting just 35.0% from the field. But he has embraced the role and, once he gets in shape could prove to be a valuable weapon for the Lakers, or so they hope. The new name suits World Peace well, wrote Phil Taylor in this week's Sports Illustrated, who caught up with the Lakers' small forward and saw a changed man.
World Peace didn't play in the second half of last Friday's win over the Golden State Warriors, but didn't complain. "The once belligerent Artest is far more mellow as Metta, a Buddhist word meaning 'loving-kindness'," Taylor wrote. "There was a time when sitting the entire second half might have made him openly angry, but he was calm and accepting about it on Friday, repeatedly responding to postgame questions with some variation on the mantra, 'We work together as a team'."
The former Artest has scored just 15 points in his last six games, and has missed his last 12 three-point attempts. On the season, World Peace has made just two of 25 shots from beyond the arc. Perhaps the peace that is most needed is from Lakers' fans, trying to be patient with World Peace this season.