PLAYER: Metta World Peace
CONTRACT: 2 years, $3.25 million
ACQUISITION DETAILS: Waived by Los Angeles Lakers via amnesty provision, cleared waivers, and signed free agent contract with New York
WHAT TO EXPECT OFFENSIVELY: Ron is a versatile offensive threat whose main contribution is likely to be from beyond the three point line. Though he has struggled on three point shots above the break in recent seasons, he has maintained a strong percentage from the corners (37.8 percent this past season), which happens to be where most of his looks should come from. Like most other players on the Knicks, he can get a little bit trigger-happy at times, but that’s just something his teams have to live with in exchange for his best efforts on the defensive end of the floor.
In the right match-up, Ron-Ron will flash a little bit of a post-up game, mostly because he can bully smaller defenders on the block with his large frame. Though World Peace isn’t able to rely upon a bevy of go-to moves down low, he is crafty for his size and has shown a knack to get good shots when he needs to.
The artiste formerly known as Artest is also a capable offensive rebounder and a solid passer. Though turnovers were something of a problem during the earlier portion of his career, he has made great strides in recent seasons with respect to taking care of the basketball – a propensity that should comport well, in theory, at least, with the Knicks’ returning cast. The reality is that Ron will be a complementary offensive player for the Knicks, probably floating around the three point line looking for catch-and-shoot opportunities. He’ll get the occasional post-up, the odd side situational pick and roll, and, of course, a few too many wild shots off the dribble drive, too.
WHAT TO EXPECT DEFENSIVELY: Given the Knicks’ oft-maligned defensive prowess, Artest is likely to take the tougher forward match-up on defense, regardless of who he shares the floor with. This should ostensibly alleviate some of the pressure upon New York’s sub-par frontcourt defenders (namely Carmelo Anthony, Amar’e Stoudemire and Andrea Bargnani), both by allowing them to guard the weaker offensive player and to save their energy for the offensive end.
Though he carried a reputation as a lockdown perimeter defender during most of his career, World Peace is more suited to guarding bigger forwards nowadays. His ability to guard perimeter players remains to some degree, but he’ll be 34 in November and his quickness has certainly diminished. That said, he will be extremely valuable to the Knicks by virtue of his stout post defense, on-the-mark positioning, and his ability to continue as one of the league’s foremost passing lane devils.
UNREASONABLY OPTIMISTIC SEASON PROJECTION: 13.2 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 2.4 apg, 1.6 spg, 48.6 FG%, 39.2 3PT%