This is the ninth in a series grading the Lakers’ efforts on the 2012-13 season.
Player: Jodie Meeks, Lakers guard
How he performed: Averaged 7.9 points on 38.7 percent shooting from the field and 35.7 percent from three-point range in 21.3 minutes through 78 regular-season games; scored four points on 25 percent shooting in 20 minutes through one playoff game.
The Good:Even on a veteran team where shots are hard to come by, Jodie Meeks never showed any hesitation to shoot. That mindset had its consequences. But it also helped Meeks provide the service that he was supposed to provide when he signed a two-year, $3 million deal last offseason. That enabled him to score in double figures in 25 games. He shot above 50 percent from three-point range in 14 games. Even on off shooting nights, his mere presence significantly spaced the floor better, making it easier for Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol move more inside. It also helped that Meeks kept a positive attitude and showed hustle on defense.
The Bad: Meeks’ gun-slinging mentality hurt him more often than it helped him. He went through 25 games where he shot 25 percent or worse from the perimeter. Meeks’ fast-breaks usually ended in catastrophe. And he didn’t appear willing to temper his shot selection or his fast-break execution despite the results usually going against him. It didn’t help that Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni openly encouraged him to take such an approach.
It would’ve been possible for Meeks to diversify his shooting by finding opportunities on mid-range jumpers or looking more for Howard and Gasol inside. Even if he had done that, it wouldn’t have compromised his rhythm or confidence to shoot the ball. But that didn’t happen.
He also proved to be a non-factor in the playoffs, missing the last three games of the Lakers’ first-round sweep to San Antonio because of a partially torn ligament in his left ankle.
Grade:C. Meeks had the potential to be an X-factor every game. But he was too unreliable with his streaky shooting. The Lakers will likely bring Meeks back by exercising his $1.6 million team option. So it’s imperative that Meeks alters his shooting approach so he becomes more consistent.
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