While most of the Los Angeles Lakers news that came out today was revolving around the ugly scene painted in the now notorious ESPN article, Metta World Peace took to the airwaves to deliver some positivity to Lakers fans. During his interview with ESPN, World Peace – the player formerly known as Ron Artest – dropped a bit of information that Kyle Kuzma had been hitting him up to work on his defensive game this summer.
Known during his time in the league as one of the most ferocious defenders and one of the few men capable of slowing Kobe down, Artest has a wealth of defensive knowledge at his disposal that could come in handy for the small ball power forward. Artest was a small forward by nature (like Kuzma) yet had the strength necessary to defend much larger players in the paint.
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Lakers’ Kyle Kuzma Is Hitting Up Metta World Peace For Help on Defense
While Kuzma will never become the same level of a defender as Artest, there is quite a bit he can do to shore up the holes in his game. Kuzma is a solid athlete meaning he should at least have the raw tools in order to be a problem defensively. Most of the improvements he needs to make are mainly with mental adjustments. Working with a seasoned defensive master like Artest should pay dividends immediately and if Kuzma can become a force on that side of the basketball, the Lakers will be a dangerous team to match up with for any team in the league.
Already a proficient scorer, the biggest knock on Kuzma has always been his defense. While he needs to get a bit more consistent from three, the biggest way for Kuzma to stay on the floor alongside LeBron and increase his role is to defend at a high level.
Ron Artest aka Metta World Peace’s Los Angeles Lakers Run
Prior to his run with the Lakers, Artest was known for being one of the league’s self-proclaimed “Kobe Stoppers”. An excellent defender with feet quick enough to stick with guards and the strength to hang with bigger defenders inside, Artest was a defensive swiss army knife and one of the league’s most coveted weapons.
With both him and Kobe Bryant inching closer to retirement, the two joined forces after the Lakers 2009 championship run and played a crucial role in the 2010 run. With a number of huge late-game shots, Artest etched himself into Laker history books as one of the most clutch role players in the history of the storied franchise.