The Los Angeles Clippers could be looking to add a former NBA champion to their already stacked roster.
Just days after the Clippers added Tyronn Lue as an assistant coach, they’re looking to make one more major roster move. According to Ben Stinar of Amico Hoops, the Clippers are among three teams interested in signing free agent shooting guard Jodie Meeks, who spent the end of last season with the Toronto Raptors. The Milwaukee Bucks and the Charlotte Hornets are the other teams interested in signing the 10-year NBA veteran.
The Clippers Desperately Need 3-Point Shooting
Meeks is not a big name, but he won a title with the Raptors as a spot rotation player during the postseason. Furthermore, he’s a well-known 3-point shooter who has made his living making shots beyond the arc — a well-coveted trait in a league dominated by 3-point shooting.
Considering Kawhi Leonard is the Clippers’ franchise player now, maybe Meeks’ experience playing alongside the reigning Finals MVP will get him a non-guaranteed contract with Los Angeles.
The Clippers currently have 14 players under contract, which means they have one more roster spot to fill before the start of the regular season. Although the team will be a defensive nightmare with Leonard, Paul George and Patrick Beverley roaming the wings, they still lack 3-point shooting.
While Leonard and George can shoot 3-pointers, they will be depended upon to do so much more. As far as actual 3-point-shooting role players on the team are concerned, Lou Williams, Landry Shamet and maybe Rodney McGruder are the only guys that fit in that category. This is where the interest in Meeks lies.
Furthermore, although the Clippers ranked second in the league in 3-point shooting percentage, they were near the bottom of the league in actual makes. They were 25th in 3-pointers made and 28th in attempts. A combination of a lack of roster personnel and Rivers’ own coaching philosophy held the Clippers back in that department.
The 6-foot-4 Meeks is a career 37.3 percent shooter from beyond the arc and he once averaged 15.7 points per game in a single season with the Los Angeles Lakers during the 2013-14 season.
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Doc Rivers: Clippers Have a Target on Their Backs
The Clippers know they have a target on their backs entering the 2019-20 season. As Odds Shark details, the Clippers are the championship favorites — moreso than the LeBron James and Anthony Davis-led Lakers.
While the franchise itself isn’t accustomed to having a target on their back, Doc Rivers knows better than anybody what that feels like. The veteran head coach won a championship with the 2008 Boston Celtics when they formed the league’s first modern superteam with the likes of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen.
Rivers isn’t sweating the pressure — he believes the Clippers facing and overcoming that target on their backs will enable them to win a championship.
Via Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe.
“It’s great [to have a target on the back] for this team. It’s exhausting for a championship team because it usually happens to a team that’s won already,” he said. “In 2008, it was really Detroit who we [the Celtics] had targeted and then the Lakers we had targeted. Last year, it was Golden State clearly that everybody was trying to be, and this year it’s kind of open because the team that won it in Toronto, their best player left.
“So it’s open. It’s us. It’s the Lakers. It’s Golden State. It’s Boston. It’s a bunch of teams. We clearly are one that teams will target.
“We haven’t played since the middle of May, but teams are going to try to come after us. I think that’s a good thing. I think we need that. It will teach us hopefully every night you have to be ready. In the long run, if we can get through it, it will prepare us for the march. If we can’t get through it, we won’t get there anyway.”
If the Clippers are going to come out of the tough Western Conference, they’ll have to rely on their veteran leadership — guys such as Rivers, Leonard and George — in order to persevere.
Follow D.J. Siddiqi on Twitter @DJSiddiqi