METTA World Peace expressed confidence the Los Angeles Lakers can bounce back after struggling in their first season with LeBron James.
The former Ron Artest said he felt the Lakers were capable of winning the crown this year. However, injuries, including to James, doomed their season, he added.
“I’m a Laker fan,” said World Peace during his visit to the Philippines for the NBTC League National Finals. “I played for the Lakers. I thought the Lakers was going to win the finals this year. But it just didn’t happen.”
World Peace, who played six seasons with the Lakers and won a championship in 2010, insisted his former team is capable of winning the championship even if it ends up as the eighth seed, noting how the 1999 New York Knicks and the 2007 Golden State Warriors stunned top-ranked teams in their conference years ago.
“I thought if Lebron can get into the playoffs and they play Golden State, and somehow, LeBron turns into Superman and wins Game One, it’s the playoffs. The Knicks did it a long time ago, Golden State did it. Baron Davis was a good player, Stephen Jackson. But LeBron is a really good player. Why can’t he do it?”
World Peace said the severe ankle injury of Lonzo Ball was a huge blow to the season.
“I’m very shocked how it turned out. But when Lonzo Ball went out, that hurt them a lot. People, they can say that he is not good or he shouldn’t be there. But Lonzo made the Lakers better. When he got hurt, that hurt the Lakers."
World Peace warned James will be even better next year for the Lakers.
“And when LeBron got hurt, they were in fourth place and they dropped in the playoffs. It was hard to get back. They asked LeBron James to bring them back. He had them at fourth place. He is not perfect. Nobody is. He is not playing defense right now, but he is 35 years old. He is not 25 years old anymore.”
“That being said, he will be back. He is LeBron James,” said World Peace.