Associated Press Photo by Reed Saxon
ESPN NBA analysts Hubie Brown and Jon Barry responded when asked this morning on a conference call to chime in on the seven-game suspension handed to the Lakers’ Metta World Peace, how it impacts the Lakers immediate playoff matchups and if it’s the kind of punishment they think could lead to any kind of change any behavior:
Hubie Brown: First of all, I think that he came off quite easy, mainly because when you say seven games, and tomorrow (in Sacramento, the regular season finale) counts as one, and if first round goes to seven we all that he could play in that game. The Lakers came out good in that situation. As far as it was quite, how should I say, lenient, was due to the fact there were 12 previous suspensions. I thought they might count that. But I feel possibly the condition of (Oklahoma City’s James) Harden isn’t as severe – it’s a concussion no doubt about that and no one is downplaying it – but the way the action happened and then even the after-affect going down the floor and encountering another player, all of that was taking into consideration. So it depends upon the individual and what you think.
As far as the position (small forward) we know that it’s been questionable most of the season in production (for the Lakers) but they can go with Ebanks at that spot and keep Barnes coming off the bench because he’s been in an excellent groove and making contributions.
(Brown later added: The reason I said it was surprising was if you watched how it all happened, and you got the hit and there was no remose on the hit and he didn’t know who the individual who was hit and there was no follow up but to proceed down the floor and encounter another player and an argument, I thought: We have no idea how the NBA is going to look back at the past .. at the 86-games. Was there any stipulation of if this happened again, what would happen? We don’t know that because we’r e not privy to that information.)
Jon Barry: For me, I thought it was very lenient as well. We’re talking about a guy who’s been suspended over 100 games. What my problem was that after the fact he’d done that, if it was an accident, if he was celebrating, if you were to do that to someone, you’d certainly turn around to check to see what had happened. You don’t expect him to go over and give the guy a hug, but if you so go see if you did in fact hurt him, his reaction was, when someone came to square off with him, it was like he was ready to fight again. So to me this was not a complete accident, it was not him celebrating and the guy got into the way. He brushed Harden, knew he was there, and if he pushed him away, that’s one thing. He raised an elbow to a level to get to his head. I believe he knew what he was doing. That’s getting off easy if they go into a seventh game in the first round they’ll have him available. I don’t think that’s right. He should have at least lost a first-round. It wouldn’t have surprised me if they said he was done for the season to be quite honest.
It puts the Lakers in a bind, he was playing well. Barnes is a little banged up, the rotation is different. I still believe them getting out of the first round is not a problem, but again, it certainly could have been a lot worse than seven games and I’ve have totally agreed with that.
== On his behavior repeating himself, will he learn from this? As a player, are people hard to change based on punishments?
Hubie Brown: I don’t think we’re qualified to answer that. You have to go to the medical profession to get a definite answer over something, because you would think the 86-game suspension made some kind of an impression, and there have been (other) suspensions. So I think what we’re doing here is groping. It’s unfortunate. The young man is blessed with a great deal of talent. And even the year that (Palace brawl) happened, it was one of his best years in the NBA. He was an All-NBA and All Star and All Defensive and he didn’t even learn from that. Who are we to make a judgment in this setting right now?
Jon Barry: After the Palace Brawl, you did what you did and got suspended like that, to ever make another mistake is beyond me. I don’t know how you can’t learn from that and learn from that and be on your best behavior. He’s had other issues, times when he could have been suspended before for things he’s done. Clearly he hasn’t learned. So it is what it is …