Metta World Peace started 66 games and appeared in 75, averaging 12.4 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.6 steals on 40.2 percent shooting (34.2 percent on three-pointers). He tore the lateral meniscus in his left knee late in the year and had to undergo surgery, forcing him to miss just six contests.
World Peace played in three of the four postseason games, missing the second half of Game 3 and all of Game 4 as his knee simply was not healthy enough to play through. He averaged 6.0 points and 3.7 rebounds, shooting just 25 percent from the floor while dealing with the knee.
Below is a summary of his exit interview:
- World Peace, who has a player option for next season, declined to state whether he will pick it up or not. He said he didn’t discuss that specifically with GM Mitch Kupchak in his meeting. His basic message was this: “For me, it’s all about coming back next year and winning.” MWP often will stick to a single thought as such, trying to focus on one thing. He believes the team had enough talent when healthy to compete, despite the collective age of the players.
- MWP said the Lakers didn’t always “let” Mike D’Antoni (or Mike Brown) coach. It’s a very interesting group of players, some with tons of experience and ideas on how to play, who had seen a number of systems in the last three seasons alone. D’Antoni clearly didn’t have a chance to coach as he’d wanted to, but Metta appreciated that he adapted and found a way to get the team on a winning track before the late-season injuries.
- On the absence of training camp for a coach: “We were behind the eight ball so much that we didn’t get to see the whole team and who improved their game, and how we’re going to play.” That was certainly tough for the coaches and players, no doubt.
- One of Dwight Howard’s biggest supporters this season, Metta had this to say: “Dwight gave 100 percent. He played hard. His personality was just different. You have to get used to a franchise player like that.” He tried to explain what he meant, that Howard is almost always “happy” around the team, except at certain points of games where he gets “very serious.” No question Howard is a different from a personality standpoint from the other veterans on the team like Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash and Pau Gasol, and it certainly took some adjusting to for everyone – as it should have. They’d begun to figure things out, rallying through the injuries before Bryant’s torn Achilles to reach the playoffs despite being 17-25 in January.
- MWP on his knee: “It was supposed to take six weeks to heal. Was in a situation where I didn’t want to miss the playoffs.” The reason he was able to return so quickly from March 28 surgery was that the doctor removed the torn part of his meniscus instead of repairing it, thus eliminating the swelling. However, he developed a cyst upon returning the floor, severely limiting his movement. Now, MWP has his six weeks to heal, and does not need further surgery. He expects to be healthy coming into training camp next season.
- World Peace – like Chris Duhon before him – was supportive of Jason Collins coming out earlier on Monday morning, saying that people must be free to be who they are. World Peace has been a supporter for people feeling OK to say they’re struggling with mental health issues, so he appreciates what it takes to stand up to public scrutiny.