Jul 092010

July 9 Philadelphia Daily News  

“The logjam that has formed at the guard position for the 76ers does not concern Jodie Meeks.

The fact that swingman Evan Turner was taken with the second overall pick and instantly supplanted Meeks as the starting backcourt running mate of Jrue Holiday doesn’t weigh on his mind, either.

Meeks’ sole concern as he participates in this week’s Pro Summer League and prepares for his first full season with the Sixers is Jodie Meeks.

After his junior season at Kentucky in which he was the nation’s sixth-leading scorer (23.7) and set a UK single-game record with 54 points, Meeks declared for the 2009 NBA draft and was selected with the 41st pick by Milwaukee.

That night, the Sixers, who did not have a second-round pick, worked hard to try to land Meeks, but were unable to pull off any kind of a deal. They acquired Meeks from the Bucks in February at the trade deadline for Primoz Brezec and Royal Ivey.

Though he didn’t see much action during his early tenure with the Sixers, Meeks averaged 23 minutes over the final six games and responded by averaging 13.5 points on 56.6 percent shooting from the floor, including 15-of-30 from three-point range.

Meeks wants to be known as more than a scorer, something that certainly will help him get on the floor more this season.

“I wanted to come in here and show that I was more than a scorer,” he said yesterday. “I like to play defense, I like to get my teammates involved. The main thing for me is playing hard and playing smart.”

And come this season, the main thing will be playing, period. If Holiday and Turner make up the starting backcourt, Lou Williams is still around as a very good backup. Veteran Willie Green still has another year on his contract and is a commodity because of his leadership, especially on such a young team. So where might Meeks wind up in that mix?

“I think next year I can come in off the bench and give some valuable minutes for the starters and help out and try to find a way to win,” he said. “They know I can score and shoot the ball, but they wanted to see if I can guard my man one-on-one. They wanted to see if I could play help defense. I think, with a new coaching staff, they just want to see my whole game. So down here, I’m trying to showcase that.”

He is doing well for himself so far, averaging 17.3 points a game. He hopes that will help translate into more time on the court during the season.

“Anytime you go through a period where you’ve had a year to learn the league, you’re going to get better,” he said. “I think I worked very hard last year. I didn’t get the minutes that I wanted to, but this year, hopefully, it will increase.””