Lakers forward Metta World Peace drives against Celtics forward Paul Pierce… (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles…)
Less than a week has passed since the Lakers' early playoff exit, yet Metta World Peace has already returned to the gym.
Sunday marked his first appearance in the Drew League, a Los Angeles summer league that features amateur and pro players alike. He plans to attend the games hosted at King/Drew Magnet High School in Watts on a regular basis.
"I want to come back next year in shape," World Peace said to The Times, "so I'm trying to play."
World Peace played on Money Gang, a team that features Toronto guard and former USC player DeMar DeRozan as well as the rapper Game against the team dubbed Kings of L.A., which boasts Golden State Warriorsguard Dorrell Wright.
World Peace's appearance proved to be a mixed blessing in Money Gang's double-digit loss. He scored 18 points, made a wide range of three-pointers and was responsible for several deflections. But he earned five fouls and even a technical for arguing over a reach. For those worried about World Peace's composure, don't be. He hardly appeared contentious when arguing the call. In fact, World Peace managed to get the officials to correct an apparent clock malfunction and pointed out that Kings of L.A. called a timeout they didn't have late in the game.
World Peace says his appearance goes beyond just having fun in a summer league game.
"I definitely want to improve on a couple of things," World Peace said. "Jumper and some post work. I want to improve on playing off of Kobe, Pau and Bynum off the ball. I want to be able to play on and off the ball."
Though World Peace's 7.7 points in 26.9 minutes last season marks a career low, he made plenty of tangible progress late in the season. He looked livelier after correcting an apparent nerve issue in his back as well as a sore Achilles tendon that lingered during the lockout. World Peace didn't address those injuries because players couldn't have access to the Lakers' training staff during the work stoppage, and he remained reluctant to consult independent medical professionals. World Peace also averaged 14 points through 13 games in April and 11.7 points in the postseason.
As with anything regarding World Peace, it appears he'll have plenty going on this offseason. He's planning to release a mixtape titled "Passion" within the next three weeks. World Peace also plans to host six to eight comedy shows. Yethe highlighted his plan to appear regularly in the Drew League and have daily workouts this offseason.
"I took some time off, but I don't want it to be too much," World Peace said. "I'm getting back in the gym. I want to pick up where I left off in the last month and a half. I don't want to be busy the whole summer. I'm going to be doing more training. I want to be ready."
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