Player Capsule: Jodie Meeks
Jodie Meeks came to the Lakers as a free agent over the summer, his shooting the particular skill coveted by GM Mitch Kupchak, and completed his first season in Los Angeles with averages of 7.9 points on 38.7 percent field goals and 35.7 percent from three.
It was an up-and-down year for the University of Kentucky product, who was hot during L.A.'s strong February (46.8 percent field goals, 41.8 percent threes) but cold in March (37.1, 32.0) and April (29.1, 28.6) playing for coach Mike D'Antoni.
"My shooting was up and down this season for whatever reason," Meeks said during his exit interview. "I’ll be ready to come back next year and (get better); this system fits me perfectly and (D’Antoni) has a lot of confidence in me."
Whether or not his shots were falling, Meeks did command the respect of the defense thanks to his quick release and reputation as a shooter, opening the floor for teammates. Furthermore, Meeks played well defensively, thanks in part to the type of constant effort and energy that won D'Antoni over as the season progressed.
“Coach said I came along well defensively," Meeks reflected. "I watched a lot of film this year, more than what I was used to, and that helped out a lot."
As such, Meeks was a part of many of L.A.'s top line ups in terms of plus/minus, thanks to that combo of perimeter defense and floor spacing on offense.
Playing behind Kobe Bryant at the two guard spot, Meeks said he took in everything he could from the 17-year veteran.
"He was a great teammate, giving me a lot of confidence to play the way I can," said Meeks of Bryant. "His mental preparation (stands out to me the most). No matter if he’s hurt, sick, whatever, he has the same focus for every single game. That’s hard when you’re playing against the best players in the league."
Unfortunately, Meeks saw his season end in Game 1 of the playoffs, when he sprained his left ankle late in the contest. The ankle remains sore, but he's expected to make a full recovery shortly.
Meanwhile, Meeks has been busy chipping away at the remaining hours he needs to graduate from the University of Kentucky, as he told Lakers.com. He's enrolled in a marketing class that will last until June, and will then return to his home in Atlanta to train for the 2013-14 season.