A new Metta World Peace order has been achieved. At least, that’s what the Lakers forward promises.
He keeps hanging out at the end of the bench during games. He keeps maintaining that everything is fine.
He’s not grumbling about playing time like he did before being waived by the New York Knicks halfway through the 2013-14 season. He’s not going to question Coach Byron Scott’s rotation.
He’s trying to embrace his new role as mentor, his “Malice at the Palace” reputation burned and buried a long time ago.
“I’m never going to get down. It don’t make sense,” he said. “It only makes sense to focus.”
World Peace was on the inactive list the first two games and then an actively benched player the last two.
He’s not unhappy. Seriously.
“It’s about looking at your surroundings, what you’re presented with, how you’re going to take that and become successful,” he said. “How can I help the organization? How can I help myself? How can I help the guys? I’m just locked in. I’m focused on improving and winning. The minute you focus on something else, it’s a problem.”
World Peace did not play in the NBA last season. He is still on a contract that does not become guaranteed until early January.
In the meantime, he’s trying to raise $2 million by raffling off his 2003-04 award for NBA defensive player of the year. The money will go toward what he calls “family defense,” the mentoring of young males so they eventually become good fathers and husbands.
He did something similar when he raised $671,000 for mental-health awareness by raffling off his NBA championship ring in 2010.
But this non-complaining stuff is new, no?
“I don’t know if it’s a new Metta,” he said. “It’s not about being happy, sad, upset, irritated, excited. It’s just focus.”
Upshaw on D-Fenders
Undrafted center Robert Upshaw signed with the L.A. D-Fenders, the Lakers’ Development League affiliate, after no other NBA team picked him up.
Upshaw was the Lakers’ second-to-last cut in exhibition season. He showed some shot-blocking ability but struggled on offense and often didn’t stay after practice to work on his game.
Jabari Brown, the Lakers’ final cut, will not play for the D-Fenders, choosing instead to play overseas. The D-Fenders begin training camp Wednesday.
The Lakers can recall Upshaw whenever they please, though he also has the ability to sign with another NBA team at any time.
Kareem and Kobe
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar never strays too far from the Lakers, filling a role as a coaching consultant in the past and attending enough games to stay in the team’s conscience.
He is the subject of an HBO documentary, “Kareem: Minority of One,” which premiered Tuesday night and profiles him via interviews with numerous NBA legends.
Scott had his own thoughts on his former teammate.
“He was one of the most competitive guys I’ve seen,” Scott said Monday, comparing Abdul-Jabbar to Kobe Bryant. “They’ve got a lot of similarities in the way that they approach the game, how serious they took it. But they also were very hard on themselves at times. They took all the criticism and kind of used that to fuel their fire.”
In perhaps a sad testimony on a bygone era, no modern-day players rely on the sky hook shot that was so efficient for Abdul-Jabbar.
“It’s a little surprising, but the younger generation don’t think that’s a very cool shot,” Scott said. “It was cool enough to score 38,000 points but it’s not a very cool shot.”
Brandon Bass played Tuesday against Denver despite sustaining a corneal abrasion in his left eye Sunday against Dallas. Larry Nance Jr. was on the inactive list for the game after sustaining a broken nose in practice Monday when he was accidentally smacked by Julius Randle. Nance, drafted No. 27 overall, has not been activated for a game yet. Fellow rookie Anthony Brown, taken with the 33rd pick last June, was also on the inactive list Tuesday.
Follow Mike Bresnahan on Twitter @Mike_Bresnahan
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