Saturday, April 2, 2011
Posted: 12:55 p.m.By Reuben Frank
Scott Skiles didnt play him, mainly because last years Bucks team had so many terrific three-point shooters.
Eddie Jordan didnt play him, mainly because Eddie Jordan was Eddie Jordan.
Even Doug Collins didnt play Jodie Meeks for a single minute the first two weeks of this season because, as Collins jokes now, I didnt realize one of our best players was sitting on the bench.
Meeks, now 22-years-old, in his second NBA season and playing for his third NBA coach, is headed for the playoffs as a starting guard a year after getting traded and riding the bench for two different teams.
Im happy for everybody, teammate Andre Iguodala said after the Sixers beat the Nets to clinch a playoff berth Friday night. But especially for Jodie Meeks, because of everything hes been through.
Meeks is one of three Sixers starters wholl make his NBA playoff debut later this month. Spencer Hawes and Jrue Holiday are also playoff newbies, as is backup Evan Turner.
Ive never been there, but the guys say the intensitys much higher, like the game in Miami we just played last week but even more intense than that, Meeks said. Everybody has to pick their game up, but everybody really just has to do what weve been doing all year and well be fine.
Meeks has made 42 percent of his three-pointers this year, the fourth-highest figure in franchise history behind Dana Barros (49 percent in 1995) and Kyle Korver twice (44 percent in 2007, 43 percent in 2006).
After averaging just 4.1 points in 41 games with the Bucks last year and 5.9 in 19 games after being traded to the Sixers in what at the time was considered a virtually irrelevant move -- Royal Ivey, Primoz Brezec and a second-round pick for Francisco Elison and Meeks -- Meeks is now scoring 10.6 points per game for the Sixers.
Hes started the last 59 games of the season and in March averaged a career-best 14.4 points per game -- second-best on the team, just behind Iguodalas 14.7.
Ive definitely worked my tail off to get to this point, from not playing in Milwaukee to getting traded midway through my rookie year, said Meeks, who scored a Kentucky-record 54 points in a game against Tennessee two years ago this week. Andres helped me a lot. Hes kind of mentored me not only on the court but off the court. I just thank him for what he did for me this season.
Meeks is eighth in the NBA in three-point shooting, a fraction behind Korver, whos now with the Bulls. He made 46 percent of his three-point attempts in March and is shooting 44 percent from long range since New Years Day.
Obviously, everybody wants to play as soon as they come to the NBA, but its not always like that for everybody, Meeks said. I kept my focus, kept my faith, and knew Id get my opportunity eventually.
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