Lakers' Ron Artest Drops Weight to Pick Up Defense

Tom NgoCorrespondent IMarch 3, 2010

LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 28:  Carmelo Anthony #15 of the Denver Nuggets has the ball knocked away by Ron Artest #37 of the Los Angeles Lakers during the first half at Staples Center on February 28, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Did anyone else notice that Ron Artest looked a little hefty when the season first started. So big and immobile to the point that you questioned whether the 6′7″ forward could still dunk?

“It’s been tough on me a little bit because I’ve been trying to lose weight and do it during the season,” Artest told NBC of his waistline .

WELL, WHO THE HELL ASKED YOU TO DO THAT??? Ron Ron, you knew damn well when you inked that five-year, $34-million contract to join our championship squad that we wanted your toughness and no-help-needed D.

How do you plan on sticking LeBron if you can’t move laterally?

“When I first played I used to play at 260–268 and I was good at that weight. But I’m getting older now and I don’t think I want to play at 260 to 270 anymore,” Artest said. “I can get down. Luckily for me I’m able to. If I play at 270 I’m going to have no fat. I’m going to play at 250, I can get down to 250.

“The good thing about me at 250 is heavy, but I feel light. The other guys, at 230, 235 they probably feel heavy and out of shape. My 250 is light. My 260 is light also.”

Although his outside shot has been more inconsistent than Laker first half’s, thankfully, Artest has looked a little sleeker and a lot more mobile since recovering from a recent bout with plantar fasciitis.

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Just check out what Ron Ron has done on defense against his small forward counterparts since the All-Star break:

Corey Maggette, Warriors : 4-13, 17 Points (Averages 20.3 PPG)
Paul Pierce, Celtics:  4-9, 11 Points (Averages 17.9 PPG)
Rudy Gay, Grizzlies:  7-17, 17 Points (Averages 20.1 PPG)
Shawn Marion, Mavricks:  5-11, 10 Points (Averages 11.3 PPG)
Andre Iguodala, 76ers:  5-15, 13 Points (Averages 17.3 PPG)
Carmello Anthony, Nuggets:  7-19, 21 Points (Averages 28.6 PPG)
Danny Granger, Pacers 2-9, 9 Points (Averages 23 PPG)

“Some people get in a defensive rhythm,” said Artest. “I can get into a defensive rhythm. I think I’m in a little rhythm right now defensively. That’s what I’m going to try to do, keep people under their average and keep my strength.”

Sounds good to me.

You can read more about the Los Angeles Lakers at LakerAlert.com

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