He mentioned reporters often asked about his shooting accuracy (40.2 percent). So did former Lakers coach Phil Jackson when he coached the former Artest his first two seasons here.“I love Phil. But it’s not easy for people to adjust,” World Peace said. “I wanted to finish my career off strong.”The Lakers have noticed. “You have to give him a lot of credit for somebody who was out of the league for a couple of years,” Scott said of World Peace. “He worked as hard as he worked to get back into the league and be able to be a vital part of what we’re trying to do. It’s been great.” World Peace also argued he “absolutely” is in better shape than in his first stint with the Lakers (2009-2013).“I feel way better. I can do whatever I want,” the 36-year-old World Peace told Los Angeles News Group. “Essentially, I’m a wild card.”World Peace, a 15-year NBA veteran, insisted he’s “not trying to prove anybody wrong” after playing overseas last year in China and Italy. Still, World Peace acknowledged his limited time in New York became “frustrating.” He also argued he “wasn’t getting the credit I felt I should have been getting” during his first Lakers stint.“The Lakers were great,” World Peace said. “I’m talking about the outside and national [media].” Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error PHOENIX >> The respect Lakers coach Byron Scott held for Metta World Peace’s defense stayed as sturdy as his physical frame. Like anyone connected to the Lakers, Scott also appreciates the former Ron Artest’s role in securing the franchise’s last championship five years ago.But after the Lakers signed World Peace to a non-guaranteed contract, Scott “felt real leery if he was going to be able to get through training camp.” World Peace last played in the NBA with the New York Knicks in the 2013-14 season, but he played only 29 games before accepting a buyout. He also entered training camp with a back and left calf injury that sidelined him through most of the first week. “That’s when I thought he’s not going to make it,” Scott said.Two months later, World Peace started against the Phoenix Suns on Monday at Talking Stick Resort Arena while Kobe Bryant sat out for the third time in the past five contests. Scott gushed that World Peace is “playing a major role for us,” including starts in two games and mentoring the team’s young players. Though he entered Monday’s game against Phoenix averaging a modest 6.5 points on 39.4 percent shooting in 18.8 minutes, World Peace posted 11 points on 4-of-4 shooting, 2-of-2 from 3-point range and two rebounds in the first half versus the Suns.
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- Lakers’ Metta World Peace believes he’s in better shape than in his first Lakers stint