The NBA has made their decision, and Metta World Peace will be suspended for seven games. This will have a major impact on the Los Angeles Lakers as they enter the playoffs, since Metta represents one of their key veteran defenders. Metta will miss the final game of the season, and depending on how the first playoff series goes he could be gone until the second round. This is assuming that the Lakers survive, which most expect that they will. The length of suspension was not surprising, as most individuals familiar with the situation were speculating that he would miss 5-10 games. Is the punishment appropriate? Also, what will it mean for the Lakers?
Fit the crime?
I understand that this is a difficult decision for the league to make. The hit on James Harden of the Oklahoma City Thunder was quite vicious, but I don't believe that World Peace had any intention of hurting him. Metta got caught up in the moment and made a very bad move. It is a move that I am certain he would like to take back. I have to assume that the suspension was based partially on the hit, but also on Metta's history. This is not the first time that he has been involved in disciplinary action. There are even some who have already speculated that World Peace could very easily have received a bigger suspension. Perhaps the Lakers got off easy.
Peace will be missed
In terms of impact, I think that Metta will be missed more than people realize. Statistically, World Peace is having a down year, but that doesn't change the reality that he is arguably the best one-on-one defender on the Lakers. Whoever the Lakers play in the playoffs, you would expect Metta to cover one of the best scorers on the other team. There have been plenty of fans that have been hard on World Peace this year, but you could very well see a situation where his intangibles are missed during the postseason.
This is a tough time to lose one of your starters. Laker fans are hoping that other players will step up and get ready to play some defense. Metta World Peace will not be there to provide veteran play.
The author grew up in Seattle and now lives in Los Angeles, where he enjoys the rivalry between the Lakers and the Clippers, and all the drama that goes with being in the Southland. You can follow him on Twitter @tpheifer.
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