Lakers Rumors: LA Must Sign Jodie Meeks to Solidify Second Unit

David Daniels@TheRealDDanielsSenior Writer IJuly 27, 2012

NEWARK, NJ - APRIL 10:  Jodie Meeks #20 of the Philadelphia 76ers looks on against the New Jersey Nets at Prudential Center on April 10, 2012 in Newark, New Jersey.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Chris Chambers/Getty Images)
Chris Chambers/Getty Images

Kobe Bryant can’t play 48 minutes.

According to the latest rumors, Los Angeles Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak is looking to sign a shooting guard to counter that issue. Despite Dwight Howard’s status still being up in the air, Kupchak can’t hesitate to pull the trigger on a second-unit upgrade.

Even if the Los Angeles Lakers don’t trade for Howard, they’d still boast a Dream Team-like starting five. Their bench, though, is another story. Lakers reserves averaged a pitiful 20.5 points per game in 2012, the worst total in the NBA (via hoopsstats.com).

Perhaps the most significant drop-off came at the 2-guard spot. When the Black Mamba went to the bench last season, it got ugly.

While the Lakers outscored opponents by 135 points with Kobe on the floor, despite still having All-Star-caliber talents like Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum, L.A. was outscored by 41 without him (via 82games.com).

Now, that’s where Jodie Meeks comes in.

Alex Kennedy of Hoopsworld reported the Lakers’ link to Meeks. He tweeted:

The Los Angeles Lakers continue to express interest in Jodie Meeks, according to source. No deal is imminent, but the two sides are talking.

— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) July 27, 2012

Meeks is a significant upgrade to Andrew Goudelock and Devin Ebanks, offensively.

Goudelock is as one-dimensional as they come, as a whopping 97 percent of his shot attempts were jump shots last year. Ebanks is just plain useless at the offensive end. At the 2, he finished 2012 with a player efficiency rating of 6.5 (the league average is 15.0).

While Meeks is primarily a jump-shooter and does it well (shooting 37.1 percent from downtown for his career), he’s also a capable finisher at the rim and shot 62 percent on inside shots last season compared to 20 percent by Goudelock.

But on top of Meeks’ ability to provide an offensive spark off the bench, he can hold his own on the defensive end as well. Meeks doesn’t exactly have the reputation as a defensive stopper—in fact, John Hollinger of ESPN labeled him as "defensively suspect" before this past season. The numbers would suggest, though, that Meeks’ light bulb on that end of the floor has turned on.

According to 82games.com, he allowed opposing shooting guards to record an average PER of just 8.5. Sure, Meeks didn’t put up those numbers while consistently checking the opponent’s best scorer (that was Andre Iguodala’s job), but he wouldn’t on the Lakers’ second-unit either.

Comparatively, opposing 2-guards dropped big numbers on Goudelock (17.0 PER) and Ebanks (23.1 PER).

Meeks is an ideal role player to play alongside Kobe and company, because as a knock-down spot-up shooter and solid on-ball defender, he isn’t a liability on either end of the floor. It’d be a mistake to not sign him to a contract.

David Daniels is a featured columnist at Bleacher Report and a syndicated writer.


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