Ron Artest, Matt Barnes: Creating Order Out of Chaos For The LA Lakers

How important was Ron Artest in the Los Angeles Lakers march to a second consecutive NBA championship in 2010?

Try to imagine former Laker Trevor Ariza defending Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant or the Boston Celtics' Paul Pierce in the postseason, and you may get a clearer picture.

Artest had his moments on the offensive end for the Lakers, and none were bigger than his last second shot to defeat the Phoenix Suns in Game Five of the Western Conference Finals, or his three pointer in the closing minutes of Game Seven of the NBA Finals against Boston.

But Artest's offense was secondary to the stifling defense he played on Durant and Pierce, and the playoffs were an illustration of why he was so coveted by the Lakers.

Artest helped change the league's perception of the Lakers as a soft team, and the acquisition of Matt Barnes in the offseason looks like another step in that direction.

Many observers questioned whether or not the quirky Artest could blend in with the Lakers' precision-based scheme, and to be fair, there are merits in that line of thought.

Artest never appeared fully comfortable within the confines of the triangle offense, but as the season progressed it became apparent the Lakers didn't really need a lot of scoring from artest.

What they did need was Artest's rough edge and physical demeanor on the defensive end, and the enforcer mentality he conveys on the court.

The Lakers have a myriad of scoring options in Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum, and Lamar Odom. However, until Artest arrived there was no one who had the ability to physically dominate on the defensive end.

One of Artest's most attractive attributes is the chaos he creates by refusing to give ground on the defensive end, and his tendency to employ strategies which toe the line of thuggery.

Artest will reach, grab, bump, hold, or claw to gain an...

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