2014 Player Capsule: Jodie Meeks
BY THE NUMBERS:
42 – Career-high points for Meeks in a 114-110 win vs. Oklahoma City on March 9. It was the first 40-point game for a Laker other than Kobe Bryant since Andrew Bynum recorded 42 at the Clippers on Jan. 21, 2009.
61.5 – Percentage of shots made from less than five feet for Meeks, up from his mark of 50.4 percent during the 2012-13 season; his finishing ability at and around the rim was one of the improvements Meeks displayed during the year.
162 – Three-point field goals made for Meeks, which led the team and also ranked 17th in the NBA; the sharpshooter drained 40.1 percent of his attempts, which tied for ninth among all shooting guards.
After a subpar 2012-13 campaign in which Meeks struggled to make a major impact, the Kentucky product turned in a career year during his second stint in L.A. as the team’s most consistent performer. With Kobe Bryant sidelined all but six games, Meeks started at shooting guard for much of the year and thrived in Mike D’Antoni’s system to the tune of 15.7 points, 2.5 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.4 steals, 46.3 percent field goals, 40.1 percent on three-pointers and 33.2 minutes, all career highs. Meeks improved bettered both his jump shot (38.7 percent to 46.3 percent) and also his ability to finish at the rim (50.4 percent to 61.5 percent). The 6-foot-4 guard also drew high praise from the coaching staff for his tireless effort on the defensive end, sometimes even being tasked to guard the opponent’s best perimeter player. He helped hold Cleveland’s Kyrie Irving to 13 points on Jan. 14 and forced Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook into a 7 for 23 shooting day on Mar. 9. Meeks also recorded a steal in 15 straight games at one point during the season. Despite logging a career high in minutes, his numbers went up post All-Star break to 17.9 points and 48.3 percent field goals, up from 14.4 and 44.9 pre-break. This included a career high 42-point effort in a 114-110 win vs. Oklahoma City on Mar. 9, and a final month of April in which he hit the 20-point mark five times in the last eight games. As a free agent in the offseason, Meeks hopes to remain in L.A., but is almost certain to attract other offers after yielding his best season as a pro.
IN HIS WORDS:
“Coming into last year, I was basically a catch and shoot player. But I worked a lot on my ball handling and finishing at the rim. I feel like I improved as a player and I just have to keep growing. They were impressed with how I improved but it’s taking that next step and improving some more.”
by Trevor Wong