Last season, Jodie Meeks had a breakout year with the Los Angeles Lakers while shouldering the load for the injured Kobe Bryant at shooting guard.
With Kobe only playing six games before going down with a season-ending knee injury last December, Meeks became the starter and started to shine as one of the team’s best scoring options.
Although Meeks only played alongside Kobe for one full season and six games last year, the veteran guards says Bryant left a considerable impression on him which has carried over to the court. Meeks spoke with Mark Medina of the L.A. Daily News and talked about the impact his former teammate has had on him:
“I learned a lot with him mentally. Obviously he’s a great player on the court. But mentally he’s always engaged,” Meeks said of Bryant. “He’s serious all the time. That rubbed off on me on the court because no matter if he was sick, hurt, he was always out there giving his best effort. It makes you work harder.”
Meeks averaged a career-high 15.7 points per game for the Lakers last season while shooting an impressive 46.3 percent from the floor and 40.1 beyond the arc.
Unfortunately, Meeks has yet to play a single game for new team due to a back injury. The Kentucky product signed a three-year deal with the Detroit Pistons in the off-season for $19 million.
Meeks admits the Lakers showed interest in re-signing him, but the team was focused landing Carmelo Anthony and or LeBron James. Although Meeks believes he made the right direction to head to Detroit, the sharpshooter doesn’t rule out a return to Los Angeles in the future, via Medina:
“Anything is possible. Three or four years, I could be back. Maybe not.”
The Lakers are definitely missing Meeks’ ability to be a force from outside. Los Angeles is currently shooting 31.4 percent from beyond the arc compared to 38.1 percent last season.[divide]
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