MILWAUKEE -- Metta World Peace has started more than 90 percent of the games he has played in his 13-year NBA career (721-of-782 including into Saturday's game in Milwaukee) but zero percent this season since coach Mike Brown took over the Lakers.
Brown's plan coming into the season was to bring World Peace off the bench to provide scoring and anchor the second unit, but after he turned in his best performance of the season against the Clippers -- three points, five rebounds, seven assists, two steals and a block in 38 minutes -- the coach is reconsidering how he'll use his mercurial small forward in the future.
"I like him on the second unit. I want to give him a chance to be with that second unit. But, at the end of the day, there is a chance I would throw him in the [starting] lineup if I thought it would help our team," Brown said. "I’m not opposed to that."
During training camp Brown said he expected World Peace to average double digits this season while being featured in the post on offense with the Lakers' reserves, but that hasn't happened so far. World Peace is averaging a career-low 5.3 points on 33.9 percent shooting.
"From our second unit from last year’s team, we lost a lot of scoring when you talk about Lamar [Odom] and Shannon [Brown], so we got to figure out how we can get some of that back," Brown said.
World Peace might not be the guy to do that. He says he has different priorities when he's out there.
"Give other guys a chance," World Peace said before the game. "I could have been out there easily taking more shots, but [Andrew] Goudelock is out there playing well. By the time that Kobe [Bryant] and [Andrew] Bynum and Pau [Gasol] come back in, all I got to do is maintain. So, it’s not about points."
The rookie Goudelock had a season-high 14 points on 5-for-8 shooting against the Clippers and his performance may have been fueled by a World Peace pep talk.
"That’s my main thing, to make sure [Goudelock] has confidence. I think it was me, him, Troy [Murphy], Josh [McRoberts] and Devin [Ebanks]. We was out there and I told him he was [Allen] Iverson and we were all the bums," World Peace said. "He’s like, ‘No, no, no, no!’ I was like, ‘If you don’t accept that role, I’m going to ask coach not to play you,’ or something like that. You are Iverson, we are the bums. Go out there and score and we will get your back on defense and we’ll be there. Just make sure you make us better and we make him better. That’s how he should go out there."
World Peace knows that by sacrificing his scoring he is risking not receiving a bigger payday when he looks to sign his next contract.
"It’s not in my best interests not to score, personally because general managers these days, a lot of them are not too bright," World Peace said. "They don’t see the whole game. Some of them never really played, some of them did, but they don’t see the whole game. They don’t understand the savvy [aspect] of the game. So, for me, it’s not in my best interests not to score, but it’s something I work on and it’s something I can do ... [But] I know [scoring is] not what wins championships."
Ultimately, Brown and World Peace are on the same page. While he would like World Peace to be a scorer off the bench, he could go back to have him primarily being responsible for defense in the starting lineup as long as it helps the Lakers win.
"Obviously if Metta is playing at a certain level and I think he can help us by starting, I’ll start him," Brown said. "There’s nothing set in stone in this business, so I’m going to do what I think is best for this team."
Added Brown: "Obviously, he’s been a starter his whole career and he’s capable of doing it ... He’s not in the starting lineup because he can’t start anymore. He’s not in the starting lineup because I thought he can help the second unit out and I can play through him a little bit."
Dave McMenamin covers the Lakers for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Follow him on Twitter.