Jodie Meeks made a terrible career decision Monday.
The 24-year-old officially signed a free-agent contract with the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday, and is now going to be collecting splinters on the bench. The Los Angeles Times reports it’s a two-year, $3 million deal.
He’ll be backing up Kobe, and will be fighting for every minute he sees on the floor.
In three years as a professional, Meeks has averaged 8.1 points and 2.2 rebounds while shooting 41-percent from the field in 200 career games. He has continued to improve and seemed destined to become a starting guard for a playoff team.
Oh wait…that’s exactly what he was last year as a member of the up-and-coming Philadelphia 76ers.
Now Meeks will struggle to see the floor, and once he does his greatest strength will rarely be used. The Nashville, Tenn. native has averaged over four three-point attempts in the last two years, and is a career 37-percent shooter from behind the arc.
Too bad it’s Metta World Peace who will gobble up the majority of the corner three-point looks. Antawn Jamison off the bench is a scorer and not much else. Ditto for Andrew Goudelock.
What the Lakers needed is better perimeter defense. The two Steves (Nash and Blake) certainly won’t be providing it. Kobe does in bursts, but not consistently.
I’m fully aware the addition of Dwight Howard will neutralize some of the deficiencies of the slow-footed guards that populate the roster, but at some point the players who can defend down the stretch will rise to the top of the rotation.
Meeks doesn’t have this ability.
He is a weak defender because of his frame (6'4", 205 pounds) and because of his lack of natural instincts. This guy was born to score, and not do much else. It’s the main reason he fell to the second round of the 2009 draft.
This isn’t about Meeks more than it is about what the Lakers need. They needed a perimeter defender, not another scorer.
There simply aren’t enough shots to go around, and now Meeks will be relegated to cheerleader duty more often than not.
A year after playing 25 minutes a night for a playoff team, it’s a major-league downgrade for Meeks. This is a career move an aging veteran would make, not a player whose best basketball should still be ahead of him.
Clearly he values the opportunity to win a ring, but Meeks is sacrificing the advancement of his own career in doing so.