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Jodie Meeks

Kobe Bryant or not, LA’s shooting guards must step up

For the past decade and a half, this specific post has been, quite frankly, really, really boring.
 
“Kobe Bryant will be the Lakers’ starting shooting guard. He is going to play 35+ minutes a night and he is going to be amazing. Let’s hope that _____ can shore up anywhere between 10 and 13 minutes a night when the Mamba rests and recharges for a fourth quarter surge.”
 
And Kazaam! One 7-foot genie later, we’re done.
 
But with one wrong step on a scoring drive six months ago, this post became infinitely more intriguing. Perhaps not just for now, but for the foreseeable future.
 
Kobe Bryant most likely will not be LA’s opening night shooting guard for the first time since 2006, as he rehabs from a ruptured Achilles tendon. The team has still not given out a specific time table for the two-time Finals MVP’s return, but the usual recovery schedule from such an injury is anywhere from six to nine months. You’re on the clock, Mamba.
 
Thus, one could argue that the Lakers’ 2-guard understudies haven’t been this important in almost 20 years. Several players are going to have to play heavy minutes alongside starting point guard Steve Nash, a trend which I suspect will continue even when Bryant eventually comes back. Regardless of how competitive and relentless Kobe is, he’s still a 35-year-old man trying to make it back from what is usually an extremely debilitating injury that changes the trajectory of many, if not most careers. He won’t be able to hit the ground running at 35-40 minutes upon his return, which makes his supporting cast of 2-guards even more important than usual. This just in: Kobe Bryant is a mortal man.
 
Let’s take a detailed look at just who will be filling out Mike D’Antoni’s SG slot this season:
 
(Read on at Silver Screen & Roll)
 
 … Read more...

What went wrong with the 2012-2013 Los Angeles Lakers … guards?

(“What went wrong this season?” is the question we get the most from fans at Silver Screen & Roll. The 2012-2013 team had championship expectations, but a convergence of worst case scenarios kicked down LA to the the fringes of playoff contention. In this post series, we’ll be taking a look at just what went wrong with each part of the Los Angeles Lakers this year, how it affected the organization and if this could be a problem going forward.)

 

SG Kobe Bryant: 78 games, 78 games started, 4 missed (for injury), 27.3 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 6.0 apg, .463/.324/.839

 

PG Steve Nash: 50 games, 50 games started, 32 missed, 12.7 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 6.7 apg, .497/.438/.922

 

PG Steve Blake: 45 games, 13 started, 37 missed, 7.3 ppg, 2.9, 3.8 apg, .422/.421/.771

 

SG Jodie Meeks: 78 games, 10 starts, 0 missed (for injury), 7.9 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 0.9 apg, .387/.357/.896

 

PG Darius Morris: 47 games, 17 starts, 4.0 ppg, 1.2 rpg, 1.6 apg, .388/.364/.649

 

PG Chris Duhon: 46 games, 9 starts, 2.9 ppg, 1.9 rpg, 2.9 apg, .382/.363/.462

 

What went wrong with the Lakers guards?

 

Even more than the front court, injuries, which in part led to offensive inconsistency.

 

It seems redundant to mention it, but injuries absolutely killed the Lakers guards, perhaps even to a greater degree than the bigs. The pair of points named Steve were originally forecast to have the lion’s share of minutes this year, breaking down opposing defenses and at times, playing off each other when Kobe needed a rest. Instead, they missed a combined 69 games, Blake with an abdominal tear and Nash with a broken leg and nerve irritation affecting his hip and hamstring. Bryant tore his Achilles tendon in game no. 80, which was the first step in derailing whatever shot the team had of making any noise against the San Antonio Spurs in the postseason.

 
(Read the rest over at SS&R)… Read more...

Why do the 76ers have the 4th-best Win % in the NBA?

I know a lot about the NBA. Too much, some would say. I know that Brandon Jennings of YOUR…Milwaukee Bucks shooting 44% this year is way higher than his career average. I know that Portland’s Luke Babbit was traded to the Timberwolves for Martell Webster in 2009. I know that Chandler Parsons of YOUR…Houston Rockets is an extremely versatile small forward, capable of shooting, passing and rebounding with equal proficiency.

YOUR…2011-2012 Philadelphia 76ers have the 4th best winning percentage in the league. They only trail Derrick Rose’s Chicago Bulls and LeBron James’, Dwyane Wade’s and Chris Bosh’s Miami Heat. The red, white and blue juggernaut from eastern Pennsylvania is here, with perennial All-Stars Spencer Hawes, Lou Williams, Jrue Holiday and Jodie Meeks leading the way. Wait…who are these guys?


Collins in his playing days.

Somehow, some way, the Philadelphia 76ers are dominating one team after the next, with home wins over Indiana, Atlanta Orlando, Chicago and the Lakers, and roadies over Atlanta and Phoenix. They are doing this with newly-minted All-Star Andre Iguodala playing below his career averages offensively, and with Lou Williams as their leading scorer…at 15.5 points a game. Spencer Hawes leads the team in rebounds with 8.3 per contest, and Iguodala is the top assist man, at 5.2 a game…a half dime more than point guard Jrue Holiday. It’s a team filled with nobodies and has-beens. The starting lineup would make even the casual NBA fan shrug, and the program-director at ESPN turn the page faster than a WNBA Conference Final. The NBA has always been a league driven by the superstar, and rightfully so; it always seems that the barometer of a team’s success will thrive or wane at the whims of a LeBron, a Kobe, a Michael or a Magic. Without a superstar or even a certifiable All-Star, how are the Sixers doing this? In a nutshell, it’s because coach Doug Collins has gotten all of his players to play to the top of his limited potential.

Looking at their career averages, starters Jodie Meeks, Jrue Holiday and Spencer Hawes and rotation players Lou Williams, Thaddeus Young and Evan Turner are all having the best seasons of their young professional lives. Only Andre Iguodala and Elton Brand (who hasn’t played at an All-Star level since suffering a ruptured Achilles tendon in 2007) are playing below established career numbers.

Digging deeper into who each individual player is, and what skill set he has, it’s easy to see that what these players all have in common. Coach Doug Collins has discovered what exactly each man on his squad does best, and has found a way to harness that particular talent.

For example, Jodie Meeks is a shooter and a scorer. During his time at a pre-Coach Calipari University of Kentucky, Meeks was the Wildcats’ number one offensive option. He was free to take the ball and shoot where he wanted – just like any talented college 2-guard. But in the NBA, defenses closed in on him, and at 6-4, Meeks found it more difficult to find his shot.

Doug Collins recognized Meeks’ strengths and shortcomings, and distilled what exactly would make him an effective NBA player. And what would make him an effective player, was to be the designated shooter from distance. Meeks routinely and lithely moves around the perimeter like a squirrel on a telephone wire, ready to catch and shoot passes from penetrators Lou Williams, Andre Iguodala and Jrue Holiday. He leads the Sixers with 115 3-pointers attempted, which accounts for about 64% of h… Read more...