Los Angeles Lakers: The Ron Artest Experiment

His hair is ugly.

His 2010 playoff numbers are even uglier.

An 18.5-percent postseason clip from three-point land makes you wonder why the Los Angeles Lakers did not make more of a run to re-sign Trevor Ariza, who shot nearly 48 percent from downtown during last year's playoff push.

Since signing with the Lakers last summer, Ron Artest has been critiqued and questioned, doubted and dared.

First it was his ability—or lack thereof—to belong, to conform, to transform, from a disconcerted star into a composed commoner.

Then it was his Christmas night concussion. Was this the first of frequent frenzies? How would he respond? Heck, would he respond at all?

And now, with the Lakers one win away from thwarting the Oklahoma City Thunder from the playoffs after Artest posted his most productive offensive output in Game Five—14 points on 6-for-11 shooting—the critical wolves keep howling.

Is Ron Artest a faulty fit for the triangle offense?

Does he create spacing and balance problems? Why is he averaging almost 10 less points per game during this postseason than in all of his previous five appearances?

Throughout his career, Artest has been asked to make plays, either for himself or for his teammates.

He has never been the prettiest of playmakers or the flashiest of foes, but Artest's size and strength enables him to get to where he wants on the hardwood, create space and ultimately put the ball in the basket or find one of the other four guys for an open look.

Artest is perhaps most effective in the mid-to-low post position, where his brute force and low center of gravity allow him to work his way into the lane, either for an easy deuce or a trip to the charity stripe.

Once he establishes himself on the inside, Artest then becomes a bigger threat on the perimeter, where he can take many defenders off the dribbl...

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