Metta World Peace makes Cantu debut. © MARTA COLOMBO/BASKETINSIDE
Metta World Peace makes Cantu debut. © MARTA COLOMBO/BASKETINSIDE

Fresh from any niggling knee injuries that has bothered him over the last four months; Metta World Peace looked good when he was on court.

But he was obviously fatigued after his first game since late-November and logged 23 minutes on court.

That 23 minutes of court time though is still impressive, it shows the passion that World Peace still has left in the tank, and moving to Europe is an excellent move for him as his style of basketball actually suits the European game.

Surprising considering his love for basketball started in streets of Queens in New York, where the ‘no blood, no foul’ method of streetball is commonly used, even to this day.

“I always wanted to play in Europe for a long time,” World Peace said before he made his debut for Italian side Cantu.

“They move the ball and they move bodies and that’s what I like doing. I’m looking forward to playing team basketball and being smart as well as scoring. I can score but I’m excited about team basketball.”

Metta World Peace makes Cantu debut. © MARTA COLOMBO/BASKETINSIDE

How did he do? How did Cantu use him? Was he effective?

How did he do? 

As said at the top, World Peace showed obvious signs of rust. He struggled to find his rhythm and looked frustrated at the best of times. He was called for a technical foul, two minutes into his debut and all this talk of ‘maturing’ and ‘having fun’ looked distant.

But in the end, World Peace adapted to his role (small forward), despite being out of sorts, there are still creases to iron out, but he scored 16 points, pulled down 8 rebounds and dished out 8 assists.

How did Cantu use him? 

I felt 23 minutes was too much. Lots of other journalists thought the same. But World Peace likes a challenge and played 100 percent when on the floor. When he was signed, the first thoughts were “publicity stunt”, but despite that not being the case, strictly speaking, I feel that instead of focusing on the game and the win, Cantu played World Peace for as much as they could.

With very little training under his belt, it doesn’t matter what skill set you are, you’re going to struggle.

Regardless of how big the signing is to the Italian side, World Peace is 35-years-old and is injury prone right now. Despite Sichuan Blue Whales being told that his knee injury wasn’t long-term, the Chinese club couldn’t afford to risk it and released the ex-NBAer from his contract.

World Peace might want to have fun in his twilight years, but he also has to be careful, otherwise Italy might be his final stop all-together.

Was he effective? 

As a team-player: yes. He contributed to the team, passed the ball around, pulled down vital rebounds and helped as much as he could. World Peace showed no signs of being the player that should dominate the league just because he averaged solid numbers in the NBA. He wasn’t the leader of the team, former Los Angeles Laker, Darius Johnson-Odom was the offensive leader and World Peace looked comfortable with that.

World Peace ultimately could not stop Cantu losing Giorgio Tesi Pistoia 88-87 in a thrilling encounter decided after overtime. But the veteran is well on his way to writing a new chapter of his basketball career.

Cantu needs to be smarter in managing his minutes though.