Lakers coach Byron Scott: “With his work ethic and the way he relates to guys, he could be a coach.”Dallas coach Rick Carlisle: “He’ll be an excellent coach. He has an unbelievable passion for the game. Ronnie’s a guy that loves helping people.”Skepticism lingers around the league, though. At worst, concerns persist about his goofy personality, what his coaching philosophy would entail and how he would transition from player to coach. At best, questions emerged on how serious World Peace feels about this latest pursuit and if he would remain committed toward the grinding NBA-coaching carousal. World Peace said he had also expressed interest in recent vacant head-coaching openings at St. John’s and Fordham without sparking any consideration.“I’m a goofball. I’m always going to be that. I’m not going to change. If I got a head coaching job, I’m going to continue to laugh and have fun,” World Peace said. “People can never question how hard I work. That’s all I care about. That’s why I feel okay coming to the locker room after every game, enjoying my teammates and enjoying the media. I know when I’m out there, I know for a fact I’m giving 100 percent.”A long roadEven when the former Artest became known more for his erratic behavior, his coaches still found him endearing. Fraschilla likened the Artest coaching experience to “Dr. Frankenstein coaching Frankenstein.” World Peace had grown up in a poor neighborhood in Queensbridge, NY in a stressful environment. His parents divorced when he was 13. He saw friends and family members end up in jail or face an early death. He needed counseling for anger.But even if those emotions often spilled out on the court, Fraschilla argued “Ron’s intensity is what St. John’s needed” en route to a 22-10 record in the 1997-98 season and an NCAAA tournament appearance. “He bought into tough coaching,” Fraschilla said. “We had our moments because we were both stubborn. But I absolutely loved coaching him because of his intensity and energy. He had people fearing him as an opponent.”World Peace also credited Fraschilla for his conditioning-heavy practices that he argued became tougher than Scott’s training camp.“He mentally pushed you to the edge,” World Peace said. “I felt like I was going to die. That was the only time in basketball where I felt like I might die. It was exhausting.”Challenges emerged for different reasons in Indiana (2001-2006). World Peace marveled at Carlisle’s playbook and his ability to make adjustments by the possession. But World Peace admitted he had trouble listening. “I used to hate that every time down, he’s calling the plays,” World Peace said of Carlisle. “He’s dictating, and we have to do exactly what he says. I wanted to freelance. I used to hate it. We would complain, ‘Why is he calling the play every single time?’ We used to hate it. But it worked.”So after averaging 18.3 points per game and winning the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year in the 2003-04 season, Carlisle soon told reporters he could envision World Peace becoming a coach someday. After all, World Peace saw varying defensive coverages to stop him from scoring. He applied the same tactics so he could disrupt his opponent. “He really shouldn’t have said anything to me that would boost my ego,” World Peace, said, laughing. “I had this ego that was unstable. If you said anything about me good or bad, it really went to my head.”That partly explained why former Lakers coach Phil Jackson often critiqued World Peace when he first joined the Lakers as a free-agent in 2009. Jackson often pointed out World Peace’s learning curve with the triangle offense and a diminished role to accommodate Bryant, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum, Lamar Odom and Derek Fisher. Jackson questioned both World Peace’s shot selection and shooting stroke. Jackson even suggested that World Peace once suffered plantar fasciitis in his right foot after wearing Peak shoes, a Chinese shoe company that had just signed World Peace to an endorsement deal. “The shoe thing really frustrated me,” World Peace said. “I’m trying to grow a brand, and this guy is killing my brand.”Soon enough, World Peace’s frustrations with Jackson’s needling and diminished role on a championship-laden roster became too much. World Peace admitted there marked numerous times in practice that he unleashed expletive-filled tirades on Jackson during the 2009-10 and 2010-11 seasons.“Me and Phil would be going at it. He would say something to me. I would say something back to him,” World Peace recalled. “Phil is the only coach I could do that with where I could get in an argument without him taking it personally. I’ve seen a lot of people get into arguments with Phil. But he never took it personally.”As World Peace reflected back on that time, it appears he no longer feels personally offended about Jackson’s teasing. He credited both Jackson and Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak for teaching him how to stay patient through trying times. “Phil definitely had an influence on me with the Zen [philosophy],” said World Peace, who noted he has since studied Buddhism. “He definitely helped me a lot in helping me control myself. It takes time. For somebody like me, Phil was a blessing.”Proving himself World Peace always believed he had leadership qualities. Even during his tenure with the Sacramento Kings (2006-2008) that ended with a trade request, World Peace noted that veteran Corliss Williamson praised him for that presence. So did Bryant, who even advocated for World Peace to have a more commanding leadership role during the 2012-13 season that featured too many soap operas to count.The Lakers fired coach Mike Brown five games into the season, only to hire Mike D’Antoni over Jackson. Injuries to point guards Steve Nash and Steve Blake left D’Antoni without a key part to run his fast-paced offense. Dwight Howard and Gasol soon soured on the system because it put less premium on post play. During that time, World Peace recorded his highest scoring output in his previous four-year stint with the Lakers (12.8 points on 40.5 percent shooting). The Lakers also marveled at his peak conditioning. So Bryant asked World Peace to use his equity built from the 2010 NBA title run into becoming a de-facto co-captain.“Kobe wanted me to speak more. But Dwight wanted to be in that role,” World Peace said. “I was just trying to be courteous. But I should’ve pulled Dwight to the side and said, ‘This is how we’re going to do things here with me being an older vet. I know you’re a superstar, but I’m going to try to have a voice as much as possible.’ I was trying to be courteous because Dwight really wanted to be a leader on the team.”World Peace has appeared more assertive after the Lakers signed him this season to a one-year, non-guaranteed deal worth $1.5 million. World Peace stressed that “when Kobe talks, I shut up and stay out of his way.” But after the Lakers huddled up to conclude their first training camp practice, World Peace ended the meeting by stressing the need to embrace the grind. After sparking team-wide concerns about a left calf injury that kept him limited through the first few days of training camp, World Peace spent the Lakers’ second exhibition game diving into the stands to chase a loose ball. Although he has averaged only 5.4 points on 33.8 percent shooting in 17.6 minutes per game, World Peace has sparked universal praise within the Lakers on his mentorship role.“He can definitely coach on the floor,” Randle said. “He’s very vocal and sees things.”World Peace has done that in different ways. He has supported Lakers strength and conditioning coach Tim DiFrancesco in promoting the players to eat grass-fed foods. World Peace has abstained from drinking during the NBA season for the past five years. And his diet consists of vegetables and vegan food. “A lot of the young guys are still on fast food,” World Peace said. “But when you play professional sports, you have to take care of your body. People see how I eat and how I bring my veggies to the game and on the bus. I have energy. I’m 36 and years ago people said I was old. I’m still doing it.”World Peace has spent most of his time around Randle considering the Lakers have a vested interest in the second-year forward’s development after selecting him seventh overall in the 2014 NBA Draft. After training with Randle this past summer, World Peace has peppered him with tips on how to vary his post moves, read defensive coverages and drive-and-kick.World Peace has mostly provided feedback with a comforting touch. But he also has become more assertive in preaching to Randle about developing his mid-range game and becoming more aggressive consistently on the glass. “He understands I come from a good place,” World Peace said of Randle. “If I say, rebound the ball and be nice, they might not respect that. If I say to rebound the mother[bleeping] ball, you might respect that. He does.”Lastly, World Peace has joined Bryant as Scott’s strongest advocates. World Peace dismissed the season-long criticism Scott has sparked regarding the team’s losing, Bryant’s heavy workload and D’Angelo Russell’s fourth-quarter absences. “Coach is out there coaching and putting us in the best position to succeed,” World Peace said. “Coach is not turning the ball over. Coach is not in the post making post moves. Coach isn’t Kobe missing shots. We can’t blame Coach for that. You can’t blame Coach for a young player on a fast break not completing a fast break. How do you blame Coach for that? You can’t blame Coach for us not boxing out. We have to take some responsibility. Guys have to take responsibility. I’m taking my responsibility. He really shouldn’t be receiving any criticism.”“You can’t put it all on coach. You have to put it on all of us,” he said. “I want the guys to know they need to play team ball. Sometimes you think that just because you’re a high pick, that it’s about you. I tell them it’s not. It’s still about the team.”The next stepRandle predicted World Peace would make “a seamless transition” in the NBA coaching ranks. But how would that path start?“Probably starting out as an assistant coach somewhere,” Scott said. “Being a player development coach, he’ll be good at that because he’s really helped Julius.”World Peace admitted his ultimate goal is “one day to be a head coach.” But he also stressed “just because I want to coach doesn’t mean I’m retiring.” So once his NBA career ends, World Peace said he “absolutely” will become open on joining the coaching ranks in “any way,” ranging from starting out as an NBA assistant coach, NBA player development coach or even in the Development League.In a way, World Peace has already started that process. After providing informal coaching sessions at youth summer camps and in adult summer leagues, World Peace also spent the last year as an assistant coach for the Palisades Charter High School girls basketball team. Then, World Peace set up various drills catered toward defensive positioning and off-ball movement. He also sat on the end of the bench to provide instant feedback when a player went out of the game. During the 2015-16 season, World Peace has consulted with the Palisades coaching staff through text and e-mail.“We won a championship because of him,” Palisades coach Torino Johnson said. “He was a very patient and cerebral coach. He gave them enough rope to have an error without feeling terrible. But he corrected things promptly.” But how will World Peace mold that experience into a coaching philosophy?“I know exactly how I want to play,” World Peace said. “I can’t leak it out. I can’t tell everybody how I’m going to do it.”World Peace also admitted he has only had brief conversations with various coaches about their tactics. He has consulted with Jackson on how he coaches less talented players. World Peace has talked to Scott on how he handles developing young players. World Peace has talked X’s and O’s with Carlisle. World Peace has talked to former Lakers teammate and interim coach Luke Walton on how he conducts practices and morning shootarounds.But as he reflected on his various coaches, fragments of World Peace’s coaching beliefs emerged. World Peace plans to mirror Fraschilla’s defensive-oriented drills and Carlisle’s thick playbook. World Peace suggested he will incorporate elements of both the triangle and Princeton offense, while also implementing D’Antoni’s fast-paced system that puts a premium on outside shooting and layups. “I kind of understood his ball movement concept and his high powered offense concept,” World Peace said. “That was fun. I like that. That’s something I could definitely take with me one day. Some of his concepts I definitely like, absolutely.”World Peace has also changed his stance on the NBA’s latest number-crunching methods. “I’m using analytics,” World Peace said. “Absolutely. Analytics is simple. You read it. Then you fix the problem.”Yet, World Peace stressed he would adjust his system according to his personnel, an issue he believed D’Antoni could have done better during his first season with the Lakers. “He didn’t have the team he needed to be successful,” World Peace said. “I don’t think the system was for Kobe. And Kobe wasn’t for the system. Somebody wasn’t giving in. The system that Mike D’Antoni put in was a Golden State Warriors system. The Warriors would have been great under D’Antoni.”World Peace then provided an X’s and O’s breakdown.“It’s all about ball movement. You have a player in [Stephen] Curry who can move off the ball. He doesn’t mind moving off the ball,” World Peace said. “But Kobe is an on-the-ball player. He can shoot off-the-ball. But he doesn’t move off the ball for 48 minutes. He wants that ball in his hands. That’s what he does. There was no medium between the D’Antoni offense and what Kobe brings to the table. It was one or the other. Then, some of the players never played in a system like that. So he maybe could have slowly brought his system in play.”“It wasn’t comfortable moving off the ball, cutting and shooting a lot of 3’s. That team was more built to wear people out in the post. Kobe posted up. I posted up. Pau posted up. Antawn Jamison posted up. We’re a type of team that could wear you out, wear you out, wear you out. It was hard to adjust. But the system is great. I love it. Everybody gets a chance. It was equal opportunity. That’s how the game should be played. D’Antoni was right on par with the system.”But as World Peace knows all too well, an NBA coaches’ success goes beyond their system. It also entails how they handle NBA stars. That begs the question: how would World Peace handle a disruptive player, such as his former self? “Probably with some suspensions,” World Peace said, laughing. “I was wreckless.”World Peace no longer views himself that way. So as he hopes to prolong his 15-year-NBA career until the marketplace says otherwise, World Peace sounded determined to follow a career path Carlisle once predicted. “I’m not afraid to take on any head coaching job,” World Peace said. “I’m very, very confident.”World Peace will eventually find out if the rest of the NBA feels the same way. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error When the Lakers (3-16) visit the Detroit Pistons (11-9) on Sunday at the Palace of Auburn Hills, World Peace will play in the same arena where he sparked the longest suspension in NBA history just over a decade ago. Then, the former Ron Artest drew an 86-game suspension with the Indiana Pacers in 2004 for punching a fan in the stands after he threw a drink at him. “It wouldn’t have been my first thought he would want to get into coaching. He was challenging to coach,” said ESPN analyst Fran Fraschilla, who coached World Peace at St. John’s University (1997-98). “But now it doesn’t necessarily surprise me he wants to coach.”World Peace has since changed his image. He won the J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award in 2011 for raising funds and awareness for mental health charities. World Peace forever cast himself in Lakers’ lore after helping them win the 2010 NBA championship. The Lakers have gushed about World Peace’s current mentorship role on second-year forward Julius Randle, who called him “a natural leader.”That left those around World Peace expressing platitudes about his coaching fortunes.Lakers guard Kobe Bryant: “He’d be a good coach. He’s extremely intelligent and communicates very well and is not afraid to hold guys accountable.” DETROIT >> The seaweed soup disappeared quickly. So did the stuffed avocado, lentil burger and sugar-free brownie. Metta World Peace’s recent order at a vegan restaurant partly explained both the Lakers’ 36-year-old forward’s peak conditioning and positive locker-room influence despite a trying 2015-16 season. But in between bites, World Peace sounded just as passionate about another pursuit that could define his continuous evolution from an erratic NBA star toward one of the Lakers’ most cherished leaders. “I want to coach one day,” World Peace said during a recent lunch interview with Los Angeles News Group. “I definitely have an interest in coaching.” World Peace’s declaration would have prompted snickers everywhere earlier in his career.