Lakers shooting guard Jodie Meeks outlined a few hopes on the horizon, and both elements may play out beyond his control.
After ranking 25th overall in 3-point shooting (41 percent), Meeks expressed interest in competing in the NBA’s 3-point shootout during All-Star weekend.
“It would be good exposure for the organization and myself to have somebody in it,” Meeks said. “I also feel confident I can win.”
With the Lakers exercising Meeks’ $1.55 million team option early in the 2013 offseason, he also strongly stated his desire to stay here.
“I like the city and love it here,” said Meeks, who has averaged a career-high 14.6 points on 45.4-percent shooting. “The coaching staff is great and it’s a storied organization. I always pictured playing in a organization that’s prideful about winning. I love it here and hope I can stay a long time.”
Only six players will compete in the 3-point shootout, and various reports suggest Golden State’s Stephen Curry, Minnesota’s Kevin Love and San Antonio’s Marco Belinelli will compete for the Western Conference.
“I wouldn’t be disappointed,” Meeks said. “I feel like I’m good enough to do it, but I also can get rest. It’s a win-win for me.”
But what about staying with the Lakers long term?
Bryant, Steve Nash and Robert Sacre remain the lone Lakers under contract beyond next season, reflecting the team’s hope to maximize financial flexibility. Meeks faced uncertainty last season too, but the Lakers exercised their team option on Meeks even before free agency hit. Typically, NBA teams hold out on players with team options until they see how the rest of the free agency chips fall.
“It was a lost less stressful for me,” Meeks said. “I didn’t have to worry about my future. It gave me a lot of confidence to know they like me as a player and as a person to come in and tell me I was a person they wanted in the organization for at least another year. They felt like I was good enough to be here and help out the team.”
Meeks has helped out the team a lot more this season.
He has scored at least 20 points in consecutive games twice this season for the first time in his career. Meeks went through a five-game stretch this month where he logged at least 40 minutes per night. Meeks has managed such a role partly after reducing his sugar intake and lowering his body fat percentage from nine to six percent.
“He still has to add on his open-court layups,” D’Antoni said. “But he’s become a consistent shooter, consistent defender and a guy who doesn’t make too many mistakes.”
Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org