It’s becoming quite clear that the Pistons made the right move by agreeing to terms with their number one free agent target on Tuesday.
The one priority for Detroit was to add a commodity that is more precious than gold this free agency period.
Jodie Meeks might not be a superstar. Like every player, he has some holes in his game.
Yet the Pistons were bold in reaching out to him because they understood the market. When you desperately need something, you might have to overreach for it.
Especially when the whole NBA community is desperately looking to improve in that area.
We witnessed that Wednesday with the deals dished out for Avery Bradley and C.J. Miles. The art of shooting a spot up jumper is at a premium. When it’s all said and done, Gordon Hayward is more than likely going to sign a max contract.
Even Ben Gordon was able to reel in 9 million dollars over two years from the Magic.
When you put things into perspective — just over six million dollars a year for a specialist in this league is not a bad price to pay.
Just look at past players that filled the shooter role in Stan Van Gundy’s offenses.
Four years ago, The Magic matched an offer from the Bulls for restricted free agent J.J. Redick — a 3 year offer sheet worth 19 million dollars.
The same contract Meeks agreed to on Tuesday.
Reddick was 26 years old when Stan Van Gundy and Magic officials decided that he was part of the future in Orlando. He outplayed that contract and was dealt to the Milwaukee Bucks after Stan Van Gundy was asked to move on from the organization.
Meeks will be 27 at the end of August. He faced many of the same struggles Redick did early in his career.
Now, his shooting touch mimics the best in the league.
In catch and shoot situations last season, Meeks nailed 43% of his attempts. He finished just outside the top 25 in catch and shoot points scored and had a 61% effective field goal percentage. Due to his continued improvement of his mid-range game and getting to the rack, his spot up game has benefited.
Want an example of just how good Meeks was with his shooting touch? His catch and shoot numbers closely reflect that of up and coming Wizard guard Bradley Beal.
And he drove to the hoop more than he ever has in his career.
Meeks made 44% of his 196 drives to the hoop last season. Part of that has to do with the run and gun Mike D’Antoni offense. Those numbers though are comparative to Josh Smith. Smith, who focused way too much on jump shots, made 43% of his drives to the basket.
If Meeks can improve that part of his game, he could be quite a dangerous weapon at shooting guard.
When it comes to adding character in the locker room, it can’t get much better than Meeks. Anyone that can uphold respect from Kobe Bryant is going to be a good teammate. In fact, it’s the attitude that Kobe passed on to him that has him playing at the highest level of his career.
Meeks said it best after he scored 42 points against the Thunder in early March and led the team to victory after facing an 19 point deficit.
“The biggest thing I’ve learned the most from Kobe is his mental approach to the game. No matter if we played last night, if he’s sick or hurt, he’s always ready to play. This year, I try to take that aspect in my game. No excuses. No matter how the season is going, go out there and play hard an give it your best effort.”
It wasn’t just the Lakers that realized he was the most consistent player on their roster last season. After Meeks scored 42 on OKC and going 14/14 from the free throw line, Thunder head coach Scott Brooks had this to say.
“His offensive energy was outstanding. He came off of screens, looked to score and attack. He got to the free throw line 14 times and got open shots in transition. A lot of our miscommunications, — when you do that to great shooters like that, you get punished.”
Energy and no excuses — two things the Pistons desperately needed on their roster.
Lake Show Life on Meeks
Earlier this week, we had a chance to ask Lake Show Life lead co-editor Jacob Rude some questions about Jodie Meeks’ time in a Laker Uniform. Rude touched on Meeks game outside of shooting the basketball, what he meant to the Lakers and if he deserved to be in talks for the KIA Most Improved Player Award:
PP: Evaluate Jodie Meeks’ season last year. Many believe he could of been considered for most improved if the Lakers didn’t struggle so much.
Rude: Jodie Meeks last year was the Lakers’ MVP, whatever that is worth, on a team that was as abysmal as them. His jump in production from his first season in LA to his second was unexpected and encouraging. He went from nothing more than a spot up shooter to a dynamic offensive player. Had the Lakers been a playoff team, I firmly believe he would have been most improved player.