Last season the Los Angeles Lakers signed shooting guard Jodie Meeks as a three-point specialist who could help spread the floor and provide points off the bench. Meeks struggled with consistency all season and was unable to be the deep threat that the Lakers needed. His offensive game was very one-dimensional, so when his shot was not falling he often times found himself on the bench.
This year, Meeks has been given more time due to injuries and has really improved his game. He is shooting almost 40 percent percent behind the arc but has also added other elements to his skill-set. He is more comfortable attacking the basket and has become an above-average finisher at the rim. He moves extremely well off the ball and is good for one or two back door cuts a game. On the defensive side, Meeks has always had decent quickness, but he has done a better job of staying in front of players and using his quick hands for steals.
If Kobe Bryant is healthy next year, then the Lakers might not need a true point guard starting next to him. Bryant is at his best when the ball is in his hands, and as he ages he is more willing to create for his teammates. His game continues to evolve into more of a playmaker, but the problem is that he cannot keep up with any point guards on the other side of the court. What he needs is a quick backcourt partner who can spread the floor with their shooting.
Meeks is perfect for this role, as he has already proven capable of guarding opposing point guards and is a great shooter. His presence would give Bryant more room to operate and allow him to play more of a point guard role. Meeks would draw the assignment of guarding the top point guards, but his height and quickness will give his opposition problems.
Meeks has shown great improvement this year and has been one of the few consistent players on the Lakers. While a Bryant-Meeks backcourt is not your prototypical perimeter setup, it is one that can create mismatches and allows Bryant to do what he does best. The Lakers should consider this option next year as they decide whether or not to sign Meeks as a free-agent.