Tuesday, January 24, 2006


Artest tested the Pacers patience... almost from the day he was aquired from the Bulls. Tremendous on D and rock-solid on O, Artest was the "Defensive Player of the Year" for the '02-'03 season.

Now, after a series of unacceptable outbursts that really concluded with his near "Pay-Per-View, In-The-Stands brawl," Artest successfully ignited all of his Indiana bridges... and essentially became Basketball's answer to Philly Wideout Terrell Owens. Artest also received his fondest wish.

As of 6:00 (roughly) Tuesday night, SF Ron Artest is now a Sacramento King. In return, the Pacers will get Euro-Shooter Peja Stojacovic.

While Peja isn't the complete player Artest is... Peja's also not the total nut-job Artest is.

In Stojakovic, the Pacers get another scoring option; averaging 16.5 PPG, shooting 40.3% from the field and 39.7% from beyond the arc, Peja's numbers have fallen off considerably and a change of scenery could be just the tonic for the veteran player. Since the Pacers already have first and second scoring ops' in Stephen Jackson and Jermaine O'Neal, Stojakovic will be expected to stretch the floor, drain some long-distance dial-ups, and do some Rebounding. In addition, Peja's veteran presence and cool demeanor should help to smooth out the potentially volatile Pacer team dynamic

Meanwhile, Artest will be expected to keep a lid on his temper and stick to opposing players like a 2nd Jersey.
The Kings desperately need D, and should Artest behave... (the current Vegas odds are 6:1 that Artest will receive another suspension before this season ends) the Kings will have surrendered a stagnating player and received a defensive dynamo in return.

By the end of this season the results should be in;
A. The Pacers will have NO problems with Peja, and he should iron out his shooting woes. Providing an already strong team with a 3rd scoring option, Indy' should be able to keep up with juggernaut's like the Detroit Pistons.

B. As the saying goes, "a leopard can't change his spots." Artest is who he is and ironically... it's precisely his dogged personality that makes him such a tenacious defender. For the moment, let us assume (however foolishly) that Ronny is happy in his new digs with his new teammates. His defensive prowess will help the Kings keep teams such as Phoenix (1st in the divvy') and the Clippers from scoring with impunity.


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