Apparently, he didn’t realize how enjoyable the Lakers would be – and how frustrating his shoes would be in China.
(hat tip: E. Carchia of Sportando)
Ben Simmons is hurt. Brandon Ingram is being brought along slowly. Jaylen Brown is on a good team trying to win now. Dragan Bender is blocked by Marquese Chriss. Kris Dunn is stuck behind Ricky Rubio (for now). Buddy Hield lost a preseason battle to E'Twaun Moore. Jamal Murray is ready for only a minor role. Marquese Chriss is blocked by Jared Dudley. Jakob Poeltl got drafted by a good team with an established starting center. Thon Maker is far too raw.
The top 10 of 2016 NBA draft class isn’t off to a fast start.
In fact, no top-10 pick started his team’s first game after being drafted for just the second time on record. The only other time it happened since 1983, as far back as Basketball-Reference.com records go, was 2013.
No. 11 pick Michael Carter-Williams was the only 2013 draft pick to start his team’s first game in 2013. So, at least the class of 2016 has a leg up on that class, which was led by No. 1 pick Anthony Bennett.
Here’s each first-round pick since 1983 to start his team’s first game since being drafted. Top-10 picks are in blue, and all other first-rounders are in orange.
To some degree, this year’s state of affairs is understandable. Simmons was a lock to start before he got injured. Two playoffs teams – Celtics (who took Jaylen Brown No. 3) and Raptors (who took Jacob Poeltl No. 9) – drafted in the top 10 due to trades.
But the effect is clear. This draft class seems underwhelming.
The NBA just can’t shake Metta World Peace as a player.
Despite the Lakers’ reported intention of waiving World Peace and making him an assistant coach, they’ll keep him, Thomas Robinson and Nick Young into the regular season. After waiving Yi Jianlian at his request, they’ll also waive Anthony Brown.
The Los Angeles Lakers have waived forward Anthony Brown, it was announced today by General Manager Mitch Kupchak.
Brown was the No. 34 pick just last year, but he didn’t show much as a rookie and is already 24. There was no need to keep him over more valuable players – like Robinson.
But World Peace, who turns 37 next month? He’s washed up and offers no upside. The Lakers don’t already have enough veteran leadership between Luol Deng, Jose Calderon, Lou Williams and Timofey Mozgov?
The Lakers probably won’t regret dropping Brown – though they might – but there are better uses for a roster spot in 2016 than World Peace.
On paper, Chinese center Yi Jianlian made a lot of sense for the Lakers, especially in Luke Walton’s system — he was the only floor spacing big on the roster. Watching Yi at the Olympics, it was easy to imagine it working out for him in the NBA this time around.
In practice, he was struggling to find a consistent role with the team. He had averaged less than 11 minutes a game in the preseason, shooting 35 percent overall and 16.7 percent from three. His defense wasn’t good, and he remains a player who doesn’t exactly have a high motor. With Julius Randle, Larry Nance, Timofey Mozgov, and Tarik Black, Yi wasn’t finding a consistent niche.
So he has asked out of his contract and the Lakers are going to oblige, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.
Yi has a strong and lucrative international career to return to. Whether this was Yi asking out or a mutual split is moot, it’s done.
Signing him was a smart gamble by the Lakers — he had about the most team-friendly contract imaginable, and this was not a big financial hit. It’s a little disappointing it didn’t work out, but both sides will move on.
The Lakers must drop two players before the regular season. The
four five primary candidates:
The Lakers face one tough choice. Waiving World Peace should be the easy one – and it seems they know it.
The odds are against Metta World Peace making the Los Angeles Lakers’ Opening Night roster, but the Lakers have interest in keeping the veteran forward around as an assistant coach if they can’t make room for him as an active player, according to league sources.
If the Lakers want to keep World Peace to mentor young players, assistant coach is the right role for him. It’s not worth wasting a roster spot on someone who’s no longer NBA caliber.
World Peace wants to keep playing, and he could lobby other teams. I’d be surprised if he gets another NBA contract, but I was also surprised the Lakers signed him the last two years.
More likely, World Peace must decide between being a Lakers assistant and playing overseas again.