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Are Meeks and Clark poised to Play Pivotal Roles for an NBA Championship Team?
August 11, 2012KentuckySports.co
With the most recent “Super Team” collaboration being the Los Angeles Lakers who have acquired Steve Nash, Dwight Howard, Chris Duhon and Earl Clark this offseason; the most valuable franchise in the NBA (according to Forbes they have an estimated value of $900 million) who has won 16 NBA titles (second to only the Boston Celtics who have 17) is poised to be the most exciting team in the NBA during the 2013 season and possibly the most exciting team in the history of the league.
Kobe Bryant who as recently as the 2008 off season was openly calling local radio stations in LA to voice his displeasure with the Lakers lack of front office activity, had the following to say after the recent acquisitions "The Lakers landed a piece that will hopefully carry the franchise long after I'm gone. I have spoken to Dwight Howard already, and we are locked and loaded to bring back the title. Wow, what a summer (executive) Jimmy (Buss) and (GM) Mitch (Kupchak) have had so far."
What the Lakers current team has is the following six proven commodities that will undoubtedly get all the playing time their bodies can handle over the course of what I expect to be a “Championship or bust” season. Those six players are:
Kobe Bryant, 34 years old has won 5 NBA Championships, 2 time Finals MVP, 1 time NBA MVP, 14 time All Star, 2 time scoring champion and 9 time NBA All-Defensive first team among many other accolades over his 16 year NBA career.
Steve Nash, 38 years old has won 2 NBA regular season MVPs, 8 time NBA All Star and 3 time All NBA First Team.
Metta World Peace “Ron Artest” is 6 ft 7 inches tall, 32 years old and was on the 2010 NBA Champion Lakers team, NBA Defensive player o
f the year in 2004, 2 time all defensive first team.
Antawn Jamison, 6 ft 9 inches is 36 years old and was the 2004 NBA Sixth man of the Year and a 2 time NBA All Star.
Pau Gasol is 7 feet tall and 32 years old, has won two NBA Finals with the Lakers (2009-2010), NBA Rookie of the Year in 2002 and has been and NBA All Star 4 times.
Dwight Howard is 6-11 and 26 years old is a 3 time NBA Defensive POY, 6 time NBA All Star, 5 time All NBA First Team, and has made the All NBA Defensive First Team 4 times.
Other veterans who will certainly get playing time are:
Chris Duhon (29 years old, car avgs. 6.8 PPG, 4.6 APG, 1.58 TO, .363 3P%)
Steve Blake (32 years old, car avgs. 6.9 PPG, 3.9 APG, 1.4 TO, .387 3P%)
Troy Murphy (32 years old, car avgs. 10.9 PPG, 7.9 RPG, .446 FG%, .4 BPG)
What is lacking from the above listed group of players are young, high energy type players who will get the loose balls and play those valuable minutes off the bench every championship team needs.
Two 24 year old candidates to fill those roles are Jodie Meeks and Earl Clark:
Jodie Meeks is 24, stands 6-4 and weighs 204 lbs. Over his 3 year career with the Bucks and Sixers he has average 8.1 PPG and shot a very impressive .884 FT% during 22.1 MPG.
Earl Clark is 24, stands 6-10 and weighs 225 lbs. Over his three year NBA career with the Suns and Magic he has averaged 3.1 PPG, .5 BPG, and 2.1 RPG.
It is difficult to project how a player who has played sparingly on a team that doesn’t get much national television coverage would do if given the opportunity to play alongside some of the best players in the NBA like the Lakers will have this season. I have used a system that compares the production of Meeks and Clark to that of an NBA starter. For a point of reference, Kobe Bryant played an average of 39.7 MPG last season and has played 36.5 MPG over the course of his entire career.
www.basketball-reference.com is a great web site that provides statistics about every professional basketball player you have ever heard of. They use a “Per 36 minutes” feature which enables you to project the statistics a player would produce if they were to play the same number of minutes as who-ever you choose to compare them to. It’s not completely accurate because you never know how a player would react to an increased work load (physical and mental fatigue etc.) but it is neat to utilize in a situation such as this one in my opinion.
Earl Clark’s “Per 36 minutes” numbers come out to 10.9 PPG, 7.3 RPG and 1.6 BPG. Jodie Meek’s “Per 36 minutes” numbers come out to 13.1 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 1.4 APG and 1.0 SPG.
Could it be that a former Card and a former Cat provide the youth and energy this star studded team desperately needs?
I would think Earl, being a very athletic big man will benefit from the fast paced offense that Steve Nash likes to play (alley-oops etc. like a Shawn Marion or Amare Stoudamire).
While Jodie Meeks being a top level sharp shooting guard will benefit from the double teams on Dwight Howard in the post (open three point shots etc. like a Derek Fisher or Mario Elie)
Good luck to both Meeks and Clark this season as they have an opportunity to give the state of Kentucky an added reason to enjoy what could be one of the most exciting seasons in the history of the NBA.