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Metta World Peace doesn’t like that Mike Brown relies on stats that prove Metta World Peace is playing badly

Feb 12, 2012, 9:32 AM EDT

Metta World Peace

Tricky thing about stats. Some of them, you can get away from. “Well, yeah, he had six turnovers, but most of those were drops by his teammates.” Or “Well, yeah, that one player named after a snake shot 28 times and only hit 11, but the offense was stagnant, he had to keep them afloat.” It’s definitely true that statistics, even advanced metric, must be measured in context and on a curve.

But then there are some things that are hard to get away from. You might consider Metta World Peace shooting 32 percent from the field and 16 percent from three when he’s expected to at least be decent offensively one of those things. But MWP would argue with that assertion. As he does when it’s the assertion of his head coach, who he threw under the bus in an interview with CBSSports.com:

The player formerly known as Artest believes that Brown’s coaching is too dictated by stats, and that his 16.4 percent (9-of-55!) shooting from beyond the 3-point line and 51.4 percent from the free-throw line shouldn’t keep him off the floor in the fourth quarter, when, he said, “I’m gonna make a big stop and I may make a big shot.”

You don’t have to be a stat-head to recognize how damning those numbers are. World Peace suggests that when he was on the floor at the end of the Boston game, the Lakers won. When he was on the bench in Philly and Utah at the end of the fourth, they lost.

“I’m trying to win,” World Peace said. “And right now, coach is a stats guy. His background is video coordinator or whatever. So he’s all stats. But Ron Artest is all feel. He doesn’t understand that. Having me in the game at the end, he was worried about me shooting bad from the free throw line. And I was like, ‘I could care less because I’m gonna get a stop at the end of the game.’ He didn’t understand the rhythm that we had — me, Fish [Derek Fisher], Kobe [Bryant], Pau [Gasol] and Drew [Andrew Bynum]. I’ve been through games where I would have two points, go 1 for 9 and we’d win. That’s what matters. Stats are for people who need stats.”

World Peace cites the Celtics going away from Paul Pierce at the end of regulation Thursday night –- when Pierce had to give up the ball to Mickael Pietrus for a desperate 3-point heave that missed at the buzzer.

“If I could count how many times another team went away from the best player when I was on him, I’ve got to be like No. 1 in the league,” World Peace said. “That’s not a stat, and coach doesn’t … you would have to play basketball to feel that. When Phil Jackson was here, that’s why I was in the game, because he understands that. Philly and Utah, I was on the bench because of stats.

via Lakers, World Peace struggling to adjust to Brown and vice versa – NBA – CBSSports.com News, Scores, Stats, Fantasy Advice.

“Stats are for people who need stats.”

Well, fair enough, Ron. I mean, Metta.

But professional basketball players also need outcome-related data. Artest’s defensive metrics by Synergy Sports’ standards are not great either. They’re not horrible. But they’re not good. Is MWP still a top defender in this league? Well, no. But is he a pretty great one? Yes, absolutely. One problem.

The Lakers’ problem is not defense. That team is coached by one of the best defensive teams in the league. They are going to defend well whether MWP is on the floor or not. Defense has become largely systemic in the NBA and the Lakers’ system is strong, and features quality defenders at more positions than just MWP’s. The Lakers need offense. They are desperate for it. It’s why Kobe is shooting 30 times a game. It’s why teams with strong offensive performances are toppling them. It’s why they can’t get separation from bad teams, it’s why they allow comebacks, it’s their biggest issue. They can’t score.

And MWP doesn’t help them there. He’s not throwing hockey assists. He’s not forcing the issue. He’s not dominating the glass. There is process data, like how you played by the eye’s estimation, and there’s outcome data, like stats. The problem is that the Lakers have great process data, and their outcome data has been underwhelming and concerning, short and long-term. It’s hard to blame Mike Brown for looking towards results, and more than just one game against a struggling Boston team.

As usual, the connection between MWP’s publicly-shared perception and reality is tentative, at best.

  1. EvanZ - Feb 12, 2012 at 9:57 AM

    This story is quite ironic. If you look at advanced stats like RAPM (regularized adjusted +/-), World Peace actually has a point. His rating is higher than, for example, Matt Barnes. By quite a bit actually. It’s ironic that Mike Brown apparently doesn’t use this metric, nor does World Peace care that a stat could show him some love. I guess I’ll keep that to myself.

  2. wooooo8732 - Feb 12, 2012 at 10:00 AM

    Per a source

  3. glink123 - Feb 12, 2012 at 10:40 AM

    The Lakers are a horribly bad team 4 through 11. The league should have a “Worst GM of the Year” award, to illustrate how bad some team’s front office moves really are. Buss has ruined this franchise in less than 12 months.

    • mytthor - Feb 12, 2012 at 11:37 AM

      If there was a Worst GM award, don’t you think it would go to a GM?

  4. cowboychris5xchamps - Feb 12, 2012 at 11:04 AM

    Ron Artest has more mental problems than anything! Who even listens to the guy? NBA coaches don’t look at stats when making a decision about who to put on the floor, it’s all about who matches up with the opposition. Only stat nerds keep up with numbers, this isn’t baseball!!!

    • cinnalocks - Feb 12, 2012 at 11:24 AM

      I will disagree saying if MWP was as crazy as you crazy people make him out to be he would be in jail. He is not in jail or any other institution, he is making millions playing basketball, and you do what for how much?
      It was MWP that was on Pierce the majority of the game when Pierce was having trouble shooting 7/18 and 1/5 in 3’s for 18 points and a loss at home. When Barnes came in Pierce went off. It was MWP who was on the floor in the fourth quarter and in overtime when they tried to get the ball to Pierce but failed due to MWP on Pierce.

      Only fools do not even consider what is in the numbers, this is a business…. not just basketball.

  5. mytthor - Feb 12, 2012 at 11:43 AM

    There is a certain type of physical, iso-heavy small forward that MWP needs to be in the game to cover. Pierce, LeBron, Durant, Carmelo. And he will be in the game against those guys. Since his defense is not as necessary against a player of a lesser caliber, his offense becomes too much of a liability. Barnes may not cover as well, but he’s passable and his activity off the ball and on the glass makes him valuable to the lakers, even more so than MWP’s defense because as Kurt wrote, the system in place is good.

  6. losangelasbasketball - Feb 12, 2012 at 11:47 AM

    Sit artest in every 2nd half for opening his mouth….old school.

    Youtube losangelasbasketball

    • cinnalocks - Feb 12, 2012 at 7:16 PM

      Lakers take the lead in the fourth with to play off an MWP lay up 91-90. Toronto comes back and hits a jump shot to take the lead 92-91. The Lakers call time out MWP inbounds it to Kobe and Kobe hits the game winning shot. MWP made his point once again. Forget the stats, he is battle tested and needs to be on the court at least as the Lakers stand today. No one else is performing on the bench so why not MWP?

  7. detroitcityryda - Feb 12, 2012 at 12:45 PM

    Brown is a bad coach if Jackson was still there this team would be on top of the west .You can see the lakers are playing a different game more defending and more boring than ever before,it’s a matter of time before Kobe starts speaking up too and brown gets the boot or Kobe demands a trade .

    • cinnalocks - Feb 12, 2012 at 7:08 PM

      No he is not a bad coach. They have a totally new system, offensive is always the most difficult facet to install and run. The defense is not at all bad just has lapses. Phil knew it was over after they got swept and so he left ……. Kobe is going to finish his career as a Laker… No way with this team, the Lakers could be on the top in the West.

  8. sabatimus - Feb 12, 2012 at 2:20 PM

    This reads like an Onion article.

  9. edavidberg - Feb 12, 2012 at 2:23 PM

    Mike Brown is a terrible, terrible coach. He knows defense to a certain extent, but he is a huge negative on offense. He doesn’t understand the game. He’s like Flip Saunders in that they had decent success because of a transcendant Hall of Famers (Kevin Garnett and LBJ). But neither coach knows how to field a cohesive team. Neither one knows what players help them win games. Neither one can tell players what they are doing wrong or create a strategy that will give their team an edge because they don’t know themselves.

    It’s amazing that incompetent coaches can masquerade as good coaches for years in years in not just the NBA but in college. Players can make bad coaches look really good and those two guys owe their millions to Garnett and LBJ. Every time I watch the Lakers play I wonder how the eff Mike Brown still has a job. It’s amazing to me more people don’t see that.

    • cinnalocks - Feb 12, 2012 at 7:09 PM

      You said it most people do not agree with you and the reason is simple you are not correct.

  10. edavidberg - Feb 12, 2012 at 2:30 PM

    For people that don’t want to believe my last post, look at what Doug Collins has done in Philly. That is a well coached team. Fundamentally sound on both ends of the court, they know how to defend and they know how to attack on offense and they play hard.

    Look at Indiana. The same can be said for them, but last season before their coach got fired they were horrible. They got a new coach and gave the Bulls fits in their series. Now watch the Lakers and tell me they do what Philly and Indiana do. I know the latter teams have a deeper rosters but you can’t tell me that Doug Collins in LA wouldn’t have them playing better ball than they are now. As an example, you can’t tell me that Lakers backup guards aren’t better than Derek Fisher right now. That guy is so over the hill he destroys the Lakers when he’s on the court.

  11. 00maltliquor - Feb 12, 2012 at 3:18 PM

    Did I read that right? Did he just talk about himself in third person, using the wrong name!?

  12. yahmule - Feb 12, 2012 at 3:45 PM

    Dog starving loser. I can’t wait until his post-basketball life begins. The rapid downward spiral will be a joy to watch.

  13. glink123 - Feb 13, 2012 at 7:02 AM

    Kupchak *is* the worst GM in the League. and Buss *has* ruined this franchise. go f u c k yourself.

  14. dylanhartland - Feb 13, 2012 at 6:46 PM

    Stats are there for a reason, but sometimes they dont show the true out come of a game! I agree with RonRon, as an athlete i know when you have lost a game and you look at your stats it really doesn’t show the true nature of the beast!

    When you look at a game of tennis you might see 6-0 6-0 6-0 but it doesn’t tell you how you performed in each game how close each game was. So is he right about his stats? Maybe maybe not, regardless of whether Metta is on the floor they do show he is, on paper at least, shooting bad. Id he right to disgruntling trash talk his coach? No thats one way to ensure you are kept on the bench. What does Metta Wold Peace think is going to happen? Coach Brown is certainly not going to turn around now and say, “here you go champ, prove me wrong.”

    In fact it will probably be the oppersite!

  15. purplerain53 - Feb 14, 2012 at 12:05 AM

    The true is that players like MWP, Walton, D.Fisher, J.Kapono and Troy Murphy have to go. They have 0% contribution to this team.We need changes. And one thing you all have to understand.No coach in today’s NBA can achieve a better scores, with this Lakers team.No one.We just need a major changes.M.Brown is doing very good job here.The sad part of this is, that many people are still blind and can’t see the real reason we are in this situation.
    I will repeat it one more time.
    Anyone, who thinks M.Kupchak and Jimmy Buss are doing great job, is just IDIOT like them.Period.

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