In case you didn’t hear, the Knicks signed some crazy guy who was born and raised in New York and plays basketball kind of alright I guess. The KnickerBlogger crew was asked to make their predictions as to what Metta World Peace will bring to the table this season.
Cronin: I am cautiously optimistic that the career rejuvenation that World Peace showed last season will continue in New York. He surely won’t be lacking for motivation in his return to New York, not to mention a desire to prove Los Angeles wrong in amnestying him. I imagine that he will be dedicated enough on defense for any possibly offensive deficiencies to be masked. In addition, at the very least he will be a perfect guy to bring in to cool down the Lebrons and Durants of the world (especially at the end of the game).
McElroy: 2 threes, 2 steals, 4 boards, 5 fouls, 82 must-see post-game interviews.
Fisher-Cohen: Hard for me to see minutes for Metta, honestly, at least not while the team is healthy. The Knicks have about a salary cap’s worth of power forwards already, so Peace is the only spot there’s room for him is as a small forward, and NY really struggled when they were unable to surround Melo with three true threats from downtown. I buy that Peace will be juiced up for the season. I just hope he’s not too juiced because MWP’s brain seems to short out on those occasions when his level of excitement flows up into the red zone.
Cronin: Don’t you think that a Knick team that finished in the bottom half of the NBA in defense will be able to find room in their rotation for a guy like World Peace who can still bring it on the defensive side of the court, Max?
Fisher-Cohen: Brian, I guess you could say the same thing about Ronnie Brewer last year. I know it’s not a perfect comparison, but despite his defense and rebounding, Brewer was +12/100 possessions on 41% three point shooting in November and -5.0/100 possessions on 15% three point shooting in December. Peace shot 32% on threes when he wasn’t in the corners and 36.8% — still below average — on corner threes. That makes him a worse shooter than Raymond Felton, probably the worst rotational three point shooter the Knicks had last year. How much will those numbers go down if he’s not playing power forward and therefore is being defended by players who are comfortable defending the perimeter?
I like Peace and think he can play as a power forward on this team and that there’s a good chance that Stoudemire will get hurt and Bargnani will struggle, making him the best option at there, so I guess i should clarify: In a scenario where the Knicks are better than last year, I don’t see Peace playing much.
Topaz: The starting power forward on the Nets is Kevin Garnett. The starting power forward on the Pacers is David West, and the backup is Luis Scola. The starting power forward on the Bulls is Carlos Boozer.
Though much has been made about the NBA becoming a small-ball league, these contending teams in the East apparently didn’t get the memo. World Peace will not have consistent minutes over 82 games, but he will be a vitally important player against bigger teams, a disproportionate amount of which will likely contend for Eastern Conference supremacy. The Knicks could really use someone to spell Melo defensively when he is at the 4 in these games, and MWP is a great guy to do it.
One more thing about MWP: Don’t confuse weirdness (and gratefulness for one’s teeth) with indifference or lack of effort. World Peace has had an industrious, long, and productive career doing things that many players don’t like to do – play great individual and team defense, bang against bigger players, and defend superstars. He was a very important piece on some very good Lakers teams for four years, and won an NBA championship.
He is leaving a poisonous atmosphere in Los Angeles to come home. He clearly is willing to take a diminished role, given that the Knicks already were forward-heavy when he signed (and that he already has done it once, joining a contender in the Lakers in 2009 knowing his individual numbers would go down.) He is now on a floor-spacing team that won’t need him to create much on offense, will give him some open threes, ask him to defend bigger guys in important spots, and keep him rested (he will soon turn 34 on my birthday, November 13.) I see no reason why he won’t be a productive, hard-nosed player for the Knicks when they really need him.
Silverman: He’s going to be fun as all git out to root for. As we’ve seen in the Preseason, his shot selection can be down right atrocious at times, leading to contested fadeaways from the low post, and put-your-head-down-charge-into-a-slew-of-defenders-and-hope-for-the-best drives, but aside from the gloriously jejeune quotes, I think he’ll be a solid, veteran presence that’ll bring plus team defense. So here’s my unpredictable prediction: We won’t see anything weird, or dumb — let alone crazy — from Metta.
David Vertsberger: Irrational technicals, scuffles, and hilarious sound bites. These I can expect. What I truly wish for? Steady defensive presence, a consistent three-point stroke. Is that too much to ask for? Also – try not to elbow anybody in the mouth. Unless it’s Paul Pierce. You can elbow him in the mouth, MWP.