The Los Angeles Lakers started the 2011-12 season with Devin Ebanks at the starting small forward position, which was a surprising move to many people since it meant that the former defensive player of the year, Metta World Peace, would be demoted to the bench. The idea was to get World Peace more involved in the offense, which was obviously a hard thing to do as a starter while sharing the court with names like Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum, back then.
Coming from the bench, MWP was to be mainly responsible for scoring points in the second unit, which was briefly nicknamed as the “Peace Squad”. Instead, Metta’s awful performance offensively to start the season, which lasted until late in the NBA calendar, squashed head coach Mike Brown’s idea prematurely and Peace was quickly inserted back in the starting lineup.
A year after, coach Brown might be turning to the same direction once again. As reported by the L.A. Times, World Peace will likely be used as a backup shooting guard in the upcoming games, which would give Devin Ebanks more minutes with the starting group.
Throughout the first five games of the regular season, it’s pretty clear that Peace is one of the last options, if not the last, in the starting lineup’s offensive scheme, averaging 8.5 field goals attempted per night. But, differently from last year’s initial contests, Metta is being more effective and reliable with the balls on his hands, with a 44% of field goals made and 32% from beyond the three point line.
“I’ve got to give my bench a chance, because right now I really haven’t.”, stated head coach Mike Brown, “I’ve been messing around with it too much trying to search for combinations. Now that I’ve found a combination that I think I want to roll with it a little bit, let’s give them a chance to see how they play before making another change. That’s going to be my second unit: Metta will be the two, Jamison is the three, Hill is the four and Howard or Gasol is going to be the five.”
To go along with those names, Brown will likely continue to use Darius Morris as the backup point guard to Steve Blake, while Steve Nash remains sidelined with a fracture in his lower leg. As of now, it doesn’t look like guards Jodie Meeks or Chris Duhon will receive much playing time, if any.
The move comes as the Lakers’ bench struggle to put points on the board, averaging just 18.8 points per game, which ranks as the second worst in the league.