NBA Roundtable

Artest To Come Off Bench In LA

In General NBA on December 18, 2011 at 3:33 pm

The LA Times reports

Lakers Coach Mike Brown said he’s planning on starting Derek Fisher at point guard because of his experience and locker-room standing, though he stressed it’s not a binding decision. What appears more binding involves playing Metta World Peace off the bench. And the player formerly known as Ron Artest loves the idea.

“It’s going to be good,” said World Peace, who last season averaged a career-low 8.5 points per game in 29.4 minutes per contest. “I get a chance to come in with extra responsibility, which I’ve had my whole career. It’s going to put the other team off balance. When Kobe [Bryant], Pau [Gasol] and [Andrew] Bynum are out, you still have to double-team me. You can’t leave me open. At all times on the floor, there will be a threat.”

Mike Brown also mentions

  • That he is thinking of shifting Pau Gasol to center while Andrew Bynum is suspended to start the season + starting Josh McRoberts at power forward.
  • Is looking at Matt Barnes, Luke Walton and Devin Ebanks for the starting small forward role.

Interesting developments in LA.

Analysis

Ahem, I like Mike Brown moving Ron Artest to the bench.

Starting Unit

That starting unit was too slow and stagnant on the perimeter last season. They had to break up that group.

The Lakers desperately need more speed and dynamic play to their perimeter corps. By that I mean, dribble penetration and active cutters. They also need to improve their perimeter shooting to aid their post scorers.

Unfortunately, none of their current reserve options provide that. So I am not too optimistic about improvements to the starting unit.

The Starting SF Options

Matt Barnes offers the most in the immediate sense. He is a good rebounder but a poor defender and streaky offensive threat.

Devin Ebanks has the most upside. He provides that speed and athleticism that the Lakers are sorely missing. He has the disposition to play defense and rebound. Shows nice promise as a cutter but is otherwise a lousy offensive player (unless he has improved dramatically since last season).

Luke Walton does not appear to be an option. Too limited physically due to back injuries.

I’d like to see them give Ebanks a go and try to develop him. It could pay the best dividends come playoff time.

Sixth Man, Ron Artest

Good way to get Ron Artest more involved in the offense. He barely ever got to create his own shot when playing alongside Kobe Bryant and the two seven footers.

This will allow Mike Brown to use Artest as more of a focal point offensively within the second unit.

I don’t expect large returns on that but hopefully it’ll create some small positive improvements to Artest’s contributions and the Lakers overall.

I expect Artest will continue to finish games for LA. To be their main stopper down the stretch.

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