Metta World Peace Won't Make New York Knicks a Title Contender

Ryan RudnanskySenior Writer IJuly 18, 2013

At this point, Metta World Peace is overrated.

Hence, figures like Magic Johnson saying he instantly makes the New York Knicks a title contender after World Peace officially signed a two-year deal with the team on Tuesday (h/t ESPN.com):

That will give you a sense of how overhyped World Peace is at this stage of his career.

Will the 33-year-old help the Knicks as a rugged defender in the physical Eastern Conference? Sure.

Will he magically make them a championship contender? Absolutely not.

World Peace ranked 18th in PER (12.6) among small forwards who averaged at least 30 minutes per game last season, via Hoopdata. He ranked 22nd in field-goal percentage (40.3 percent) among small forwards who averaged at least 30 minutes per game and played in at least 26 games.

And for those who talk about his three-point ability, it's not like he shot 40 percent from beyond the arc. He ranked 14th in three-point percentage (34.2 percent) among small forwards who averaged at least 30 minutes per contest.

While the veteran was solid defensively against opposing small forwards, it's not like he was the lockdown defender many people call him.

Opposing small forwards registered a PER of 15.0 against him, via 82games.com. By comparison, the average PER for small forwards who averaged at least 30 minutes per game was 16.34. So World Peace limited opposing small forwards, but he wasn't a road block on the defensive end.

People seem to forget that, while the Knicks won 54 games last season (good for second in the Eastern Conference), they fell to the Indiana Pacers in the conference semifinals. Nothing about the Knicks or the Pacers leads me to believe the Knicks would topple the Pacers if the two teams met again in the playoffs next season.

World Peace helps the Knicks in that he's a physical defender who can play alongside Carmelo Anthony when Anthony plays power forward. Anthony will be able to guard the weaker offensive forward while World Peace switches over to the opposing team's more threatening option, allowing Anthony to conserve more energy for offense.

So yes, World Peace is a good signing for the Knicks, but he's not going to automatically catapult the squad to the NBA Finals, or even the Eastern Conference Finals.

A casual basketball fan may not understand this, but one would think an NBA legend would.

 

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