Jodie Meeks: How New Deal in L.A. Gives Lakers Much-Needed Scoring Depth
According to Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Times, Meeks has agreed to a two-year contract worth about $3 million to join the star-studded Lakers.
Although Meeks could have taken more money elsewhere, it's reported that he followed many big names to L.A. in order to have the best shot at winning a NBA title. What isn't being stated enough, though, is the fact that Meeks' arrival has a very strong impact on Kobe Bryant's chances of winning a sixth NBA title.
Despite having arguably the most daunting frontcourt in the league and a strong starting five including the Black Mamba, the Lakers struggled with bench play and perimeter shooting in the 2011-12 season. The team often got worn down and was unable to stop runs from teams like Oklahoma City, who could bring in athletic shooters off the bench like James Harden.
While Meeks may not be of the potential that Harden is, he still possesses a similar set of skills. He's very athletic, still young and was one of the most lethal three-point shooters available in free agency.
That was one of L.A.'s most obvious weaknesses last season. Despite having Kobe, one of the greatest shooters in NBA history, the Lakers were tied for 25th in the league with a .326 average from long range.
The Lakers can rely on Meeks to be a solid replacement for when Bryant needs a break, as he started 50 of 66 regular season games for Philadelphia last season. Los Angeles would be hard pressed to find a player of that productivity, not to mention affordability, to bring in off the bench.
Which Lakers bench player will have the biggest impact?
Meeks has started 114 games in his 200-game career, which is more than most free agents still available could boast. In doing so, he's proven to be a significant contributor to any team, even if it's in a role where he'll only notch 10 to 20 minutes per game.
When Meeks is on the floor, he'll likely be the main backcourt scorer. That will give him the opportunities to affect the scoreboard in the way that he's proven he can do.
But he still won't have daunting responsibility on his shoulders, as he'll most likely be surrounded by at least one superstar on the floor at all times.
The Lakers have had their fingers crossed that Meeks would choose the Lakers, since it was apparent they wouldn't be the highest bidder. They got their wish, and it just makes the 2012 offseason that much sweeter for Laker nation.
While the headlines over L.A.'s offseason will revolve around the additions of Steve Nash and Dwight Howard, and sometimes even Antawn Jamison, it may become apparent that Meeks' arrival could be the missing piece necessary to make the Lakers a serious contender to dethrone OKC in the West.
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