It looks like Metta World Peace is doing something about being the perceived weak link in the Los Angeles Lakers' starting lineup.
In three preseason games MWP is the only Laker to crack double figures in points in each game.
If Metta can shake off his terrible 2011-2012 season and rediscover his groove this year, the Lakers starting five including Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, and Dwight Howard could be a team for the ages.
MWP's Promising Preseason Stats
MWP's scoring and rebounding through three preseason games are much improved over last year's brutal stats.
Metta World Peace Preseason - 3 Games: 23.7 MPG, 11.7 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 1.7 SPG, 50% FG, 50% 3PT.
Sure, it's only three preseason games, but I'd rather see World Peace get off to a strong start than continue with his epically awful play from last year.
How epically awful was it?
Let's just say he stunk up the joint, and the numbers prove it.
Metta World Peace's Epically Awful 2011-2012 Season
There is no easier way to say it: Metta World Peace was the NBA's worst forward in 2011-2012, hands down.
Just look at the stats at Basketball-Reference.com. Here is how Metta World Peace ranked among the 60 forwards and guard-forwards who played at least 25 minutes per game:
-MWP had the worst points per-36 minutes at 10.3.
-MWP had the second worst Player Efficiency Rating (PER) at 11.0.
-MWP had the third worst shooting percentage at 39.4%.
-MWP had the seventh worst rebounding per-36 minutes at 4.6.
That's right. Among the 60 forwards and guard-forwards who played at least 25 minutes per game last year, Metta World Peace ranked near the very bottom in each of the most important statistical categories - scoring, shooting, rebounding, and overall efficiency.
While this is more subjective than the stats listed above, MWP just looked older, creakier, and slower last year too.
He looked done.
The Promise of the M-W-Preseason
Again, I know it's only three preseason games, but it looks like Metta might turn things around this year.
Through three games he is shooting 12-24 (50%) from the field, including 5-10 (50%) from the 3-point line.
Last year he shot just 39.4% from the field and a cover-your-eyes-awful 29.6% from the 3-point line.
Not only has he appeared to find his game on the court so far, he has also returned to his charming, zany MWP personality we Lakers fans have come to appreciate over the years. This included MWP kissing a female fan on the hand during a game and making news by predicting the Lakers could go 73-9 this year.
The only way the Lakers could even dream about going 73-9 is for MWP himself to significantly improve from a year ago.
And three games into the preseason, he has done just that.
Andrew Sweat is a die-hard Lakers fan. For more from this author, or check these out articles:
- Sports & Recreation
- Metta World Peace