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Mike D'Antoni expects even more from Lakers' Metta World Peace

November 21, 2012|By Eric Pincus
  • Mike D'Antoni watches his team on the offensive end of the floor while Metta World Peace maneuvers with the ball.
Mike D'Antoni watches his team on the offensive end of the floor while… (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles…)

Metta World Peace is the Lakers' most unpredictable player.

Statistically, he's struggled with his shot since coming to the team in 2009.  His best mark was in 2009-2010 at 41.4% from the field but for the last two seasons, he's been slightly below 40%.

Of course, the Lakers might not have won their 2010 title without World Peace hitting huge baskets in Game 7 (shots even Coach Phil Jackson didn't see coming).

World Peace wasn't brought in for his offense. Now that he's recovered from a lingering back issue, he's still one of the toughest perimeter defenders in the league. His much-improved conditioning has played a major part in his success.

On the season he's averaging 13.5 points a game but Coach Mike D'Antoni said Tuesday he expects even more from World Peace.

"He should be wide open every time," D'Antoni said. "I told him he needs to make 4-10 every game, and he can do that. That's 40% and that's pretty good, so he'll do that. I think he'll do that every game. He's going to be up there with 17 to 20 points."

So far, World Peace has taken more three-point attempts than any of his teammates (70) while converting 35.7%.

With the Lakers bench struggling to contribute offensively, World Peace has been called upon to play nearly 35 minutes a game, at multiple positions. Interim coach Bernie Bickerstaff even had World Peace guard Tony Parker down the stretch during a close loss to the San Antonio Spurs.

World Peace was brought in to help the Lakers defensively. Given how much attention will be paid to his teammates, he's primed to have his best season in years.

It's easy to forget that in 2007-2008, World Peace (as Ron Artest) averaged 20.5 points per game. In a faster-paced D'Antoni offense, he may once again near those heights.

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You can email Eric Pincus at eric.pincus@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.

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