Jodie Meeks on joining the Washington Wizards, putting his injuries behind him and more
Over the offseason, the Washington Wizards added quite a lot of veterans in an effort to enhance the workforce’s depth round their proficient beginning lineup of John Wall, Brad Beal, Otto Porter, Markieff Morris and Marcin Gortat. Washington signed Jodie Meeks, Mike Scott and Tim Frazier amongst others.
Through 23 video games, the Wizards sit only one sport above .500. Wall has been sidelined with discomfort and irritation in his left knee and Morris missed a number of video games as he recovered from sports activities hernia surgical procedure (whereas additionally experiencing some points with his knee). This has compelled the Wizards to start out gamers like Frazier and Kelly Oubre Jr., which weakened their second unit. However, Washington is hoping to show the nook and as soon as once more end as a top-four seed in the Eastern Conference.
Meeks is at the moment averaging 7.eight factors off of the Wizards’ bench and he just lately had his greatest two-game stretch of the season in a back-to-back. Last week, he dropped 21 factors towards the Philadelphia 76ers (on 5-11 taking pictures from the discipline and Three-6 taking pictures from three-point vary) and 12 factors towards the Minnesota Timberwolves (on Four-6 taking pictures from three).
In latest years, the 30-year-old taking pictures guard was sidelined for prolonged intervals attributable to injuries to his proper foot and proper thumb, however he has stayed wholesome this 12 months. While his taking pictures percentages have dipped, he has shot 37.Four p.c from three all through the course of his NBA profession and has completed above 40 p.c from lengthy vary in three of the previous 4 seasons. He stays a menace to get sizzling from past the arc on any given night time and his percentages ought to creep again up as the season progresses.
HoopsHype just lately caught up with Meeks to debate why he signed with the Wizards over the summer time, how he managed to place his injuries behind him, his long-time friendship with Wall (whom he hosted throughout the level guard’s recruiting go to to Kentucky), what it’s like enjoying with such a proficient backcourt and a lot more.
What was your focus throughout offseason exercises as you entered this season with the Wizards?
Jodie Meeks: For me, personally, I took the summer time to simply type of step again a bit and get a little bit bit more relaxation as a result of the previous few seasons have been irritating for me attributable to injuries. I did work out arduous and targeted on issues like my core stability and flexibility. I needed to get stronger in my core, in order that means I can attempt to stop some injuries. Now, you clearly can’t stop all kinds of injuries, however this could assist me keep my power all through the season.
I do know the previous few seasons have been tough for you due to the injuries. You performed simply three video games for the Detroit Pistons in 2015-16 and simply 32 video games for the Orlando Magic final 12 months. How irritating was it to be sidelined for such a big period of time?
JM: It was very irritating. I wasn’t in a position to play the sport that I like. And previous to me attending to Detroit, I had by no means actually been injured throughout my profession, so it was arduous. But that’s why it’s essential to have good individuals round you; they assist maintain you sane and ensure you keep optimistic. The greatest factor for me was that I felt it made me a greater individual. I attempt to admire the small issues more, like simply being on the market enjoying now. I admire all of it a lot more. Even if I’ve a foul sport or an off taking pictures night time, I’m excited to be on the market on the courtroom. I don’t take it with no consideration… This season, I’ve quite a bit to show. I’ve quite a bit to show on the courtroom, and I simply need to present individuals I’m wholesome and not damage inclined.
You shot over 40 p.c from three-point vary in three of the final 4 seasons. With the three-point shot and spacing turning into even more essential, it looks as if your sport matches very well in right now’s NBA.
JM: Yeah. I imply once I first got here into the league, it was more of an inside-out sport; there have been quite a bit more massive males and [dominant] facilities. It appeared like guards have been kind of an afterthought. Now, it’s type of the reverse. I undoubtedly like the means the sport is rising and each workforce wants shooters, so no matter my scenario, I do know that’s a premium in the NBA and I’m all the time going to be wanted.
What components did you take into account in free company over the summer time and what made you determine to affix the Wizards?
JM: For one, I needed to be on a playoff contender. On youthful groups that I’ve been on, it’s arduous as a result of guys are nonetheless attempting to ascertain themselves and they don’t actually perceive profitable but. They’re proficient guys, nevertheless it’s arduous. Now, I’m on a playoff contender and that was interesting to me. Obviously, John Wall was an element as nicely. He’s my younger fella. During school, I used to be his host throughout his recruiting go to to Kentucky. Now, he’s a famous person and an All-Star, and we’ve grown shut over the years. Finally, I appreciated Coach [Scott] Brooks’ teaching model. He provides gamers a sure freedom. Whether you’re beginning or coming off of the bench, he permits you to do what you could do to achieve success.
I didn’t notice you hosted John throughout his go to to Kentucky! What do you keep in mind from that and what was your pitch to promote him on the program? He was one in every of the high gamers in the nation, proper?
JM: It’s humorous as a result of at the time of that go to, he hadn’t blown up but. Some colleges knew about him, however all people didn’t find out about him but. He was shorter; I believe he was solely 5-foot-11. He was coming from a small college too. Then, the subsequent 12 months, he blew up. It was humorous to see this child’s evolution as he gained confidence and received higher and higher. It was good to see, and now he’s so mature. It’s been enjoyable for me to look at [his development].
Where’s your consolation stage at with this workforce and your duties?
JM: My job is simply to return in and be the utility man. People know I can rating, nevertheless it’s not going to be like that each night time. As a veteran on this league, you perceive that. When you’re youthful, you need to rating 20 factors each night time and in the event you don’t, you’re upset. But the longer you’re in the league, the more you perceive that each night time isn’t going to be your night time and it’s a must to do the little issues every sport so that you simply’re serving to the workforce. I undoubtedly really feel comfy. I simply need to do what I can to assist us win… This workforce is full of guys who’ve a chip on their shoulder and that’s what I wish to see.
Have you embraced a veteran management on this workforce? I do know it’s powerful while you’re new, however I do know you’ve emerged as a frontrunner on different groups you’ve been on.
JM: I believe as a veteran, you need your teammates to respect you and I believe the guys respect the proven fact that I’m a tough employee. I attempt to lead by instance. And on this workforce, John is a frontrunner and Brad Beal is a frontrunner. Those guys have had nice success too. As the new man early on, I used to be nonetheless attempting to determine issues out and slot in. But as the season goes on, I’ll get more alternatives to share issues with guys and assist the place I can.
When John Wall and Brad Beal are wholesome, most individuals agree that they’re one in every of the greatest backcourts in the league. Last 12 months, they each averaged 23.1 factors per sport and they’ve performed nicely this season too. Now that you simply’re in Washington and witnessing their expertise and arduous work firsthand, what have you ever seen and how particular is that this duo?
JM: They’re very particular. Both guys are nonetheless younger, however they’re very mature. This is John’s eighth 12 months [in the NBA] and Brad’s sixth 12 months, in order that they’re veterans who’re of their prime, however they’re additionally nonetheless fairly younger. Both guys work actually arduous too. As a veteran, you like to see guys who’re extraordinarily proficient however at the identical time are arduous employees. That tells you they need to be nice and they don’t take this with no consideration. Those are our predominant two guys, so we comply with them.