Is the Ron Artest honeymoon over in Los Angeles? Would the two-time World Champion Lakers be better off if he was playing elsewhere?
One game Artest displays his trademark defensive skills that have made him one of the league’s top defenders during his 11 years in the NBA. The next game, he appears lost on the court and slower than at any time in his career.
Now in the second year of a three year deal worth $18 million, the 31-year old native of Queensbridge, New York remains an enigma. Some fans love him, others not so much. One minute he’s endearing for all of his charitable work, the next he’s got his hand around another player’s neck and you begin to wonder if the old Artest has resurfaced. He’s a human roller coaster.
There have been some great moments, now etched in Laker lore: who will ever forget Artest’s three-point shot over Boston’s Paul Pierce with one minute to play in game 7 of the NBA Championship last summer that gave the Lakers a 6-point lead and the momentum to take their 16th NBA title. “Kobe passed me the ball! He passed me the ball and I shot it,” were his comments in the interview room after the thrilling victory.
On a night when Kobe Bryant's offense failed him for most of the game, Artest held the team together, scoring 20 points to go along with 5 steals and 5 rebounds. For one special evening, fans forgot his otherwise erratic playoff performance.
So, as the Lakers go through a rough patch of January games that started with a seven point loss Sunday to the Clippers followed by a gritty win the next day at home over Oklahoma City and a major test tonight in Dallas against the Mavericks, the debate continues as to whether or not Ron Artest makes the Lakers better or whether they’d be better off without him.
Here, then are 10 reasons why the Lakers should say Bye Bye to Ron-Ron.