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Who Is A Better Fit For the Lakers: Leandro Barbosa or Jodie Meeks? Reviewed by Momizat on . It has settled down a bit in the Lakers realm of making roster additions, or at least that's how it seems. There is no doubt that Mitch Kupchak, Jim Buss and th It has settled down a bit in the Lakers realm of making roster additions, or at least that's how it seems. There is no doubt that Mitch Kupchak, Jim Buss and th Rating:
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Who Is A Better Fit For the Lakers: Leandro Barbosa or Jodie Meeks?

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It has settled down a bit in the Lakers realm of making roster additions, or at least that’s how it seems. There is no doubt that Mitch Kupchak, Jim Buss and the rest of Lakers management are on the phones and scouring through scouting reports to find talent that would improve the roster and increase the team’s chances of bringing the Larry O’Brien trophy to L.A. next June. While the Dwight Howard chatter has cooled around the basketball and sports media world, the Lakers continue to look for one or two more pieces to complete the puzzle.

I previously wrote about the importance of the Lakers acquiring a solid shooting guard to backup Kobe Bryant and to further deepen the bench. While I believe in holding onto the talented Andrew Goudelock and further developing his skills and mentality of the game, I do not believe he is the person to fill this need yet. I base this on his disappointing performance during the NBA Summer League and the reality that Mike Brown is hesitant to play him for real minutes, as we saw during the second half of last season.

Therefore, the Lakers are going to most likely look for free agents to fill this role. While the vast majority of the top free agents have already been scooped up by other teams, there are still suitable options for the Lakers to take a real look at. Two of the names that have popped up on the Lakers’ radar according to sources around the league are Leandro Barbosa and Jodie Meeks. While Laker fans have voiced their opinions about who they want in purple and gold in the coming months, let’s breakdown these two player’s’ games.

Let’s begin with veteran Leandro Barbosa. While it is no secret that Barbosa’s game has taken a step back from his admirable tenure with the Phoenix Suns, he would be coming into the Lakers organization as a role player with much less pressure on his shoulders. Additionally, Barbosa does offer many of the needs for the Lakers second unit. He is a solid mid-range shooter, a quick player who will routinely cut to the basket and can be trusted on the floor for long spurts of minutes, which is essential for resting Kobe Bryant.

Of course, there are some notable negatives in Barbosa’s game. He lacks a defensive mentality, and while he is speedy, it is used primarily on the offensive end of the court. Barbosa will not be a player who gives extra effort to get a rebound, as he only averaged 2.1 last season with the Toronto Raptors and the Indiana Pacers. He has a tendency to be streaky at the three-point line, especially during the last few seasons.

Barbosa made $7.6 million last year with the Indiana Pacers, which is out of the budget range that the Lakers can afford to pay any free agent. However, it was expected that Barbosa would be limited in his options of what team to sign with during the off-season, which seems to be true so far. The possibility of re-joining Steve Nash and signing with a team that could be in contention for a championship next year may be more than enough for Barbosa to lower his salary expectations and accept a veteran’s minimum contract worth $1.4 million.

Now, let’s turn to the unrestricted free agent out of Philadelphia, Jodie Meeks. Meeks offers youth (he is 24), a higher level of athleticism and solid shooting. The Lakers are in dire need of consistent shooting, especially at the three-point line. This is Meeks’ highest value as a player and his presence would improve the bench’s offense. Meeks also has been praised for his work ethic, which would please Mike Brown and Kobe Bryant. The biggest advantage Meeks brings to the table is the promise he holds as a player.

The biggest negative to Jodie Meeks is that he is currently a one-dimensional player. He is considered a shooter, but right now he is only a long-range shooter. Meeks has shown consistent struggles on the defensive end throughout his three years in the NBA. Unlike Barbosa, Meeks does not create opportunities away from or on the ball on the offensive end, and lacks the aggression to slash to the rim.

The Lakers would aim to add Jodie Meeks to their roster for the veteran’s minimum, just as Barbosa. However, they do have the mini-MLE still in their pocket, but are choosing to use it as a last resort. The Lakers would not, and should not, use the MLE on Meeks, as his salary for last season was under $1 million.

Lastly, let’s compare Barbosa and Meek’s stats from last season. Barbosa averaged 10.6 points, 1.5 assists and 2.1 rebounds per game on 39.2 percent three-point shooting and 41.8 percent shooting from the field in 21.2 minutes off the bench. Jodie Meeks averaged 8.4 points, 0.8 assists and 2.5 rebounds per game on 36.5 percent three-point shooting and 40.9 percent shooting from the field in 24.9 minutes, where he started in 50 of 66 games for the Sixers.

Once again, it will come down to the numbers for the Lakers if it comes down to choosing between these two players. A Barbosa or Meeks addition to the Lakers bench will absolutely be an improvement, that is not a concern. These two players come with many positives but both have baggage as well, mainly on defense.

The Lakers must first decide if they want to fill this roster need with a player that still needs development and is a player for the future (Meeks) or a player who will offer more of an immediate impact to the bench and for the closing years of the Kobe-era (Barbosa). The question for Lakers management to answer is who could give a better impact at the right cost for the organization. My money is on Barbosa.

*Lakers Nation posted a poll on Facebook asking the fans who they felt was a better fit – Meeks or Barbosa. The results were surprising.

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About The Author

Elizabeth is a graduate from Arizona State University and has her master's from Duquesne University. She is currently an associate editor at Lakers Nation. To read more of Elizabeth's articles click here. You can also follow Elizabeth on Twitter @Gobibs

Number of Entries : 381
  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000269119455 Art Dumas

    I would rather have Barbosa over Meeks … Experience wise and offensively an asset to the team.

  • LakerFanaticforlife999

    Lol this isnt even a question. BARBOSA. Played with nash before proven Offensive,3point ,and fast break threat,his defense could be better. Most importantly what he has more is PLAYOFF EXP! Were in win now mode. We need players who know are gonna bring it.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/PLWK4T7WS4YEPIYGLRG723TKHA Kevin kristofer

    And the next day we”ll find out that both players sign for the other teams,…..
    can the lakers sign them first, before posting a lot of info.

  • http://twitter.com/jayroalvarez Jayro Alvarez

    Barbosa. 

  • cellycell619

    i agree there has been several..”good fits” for us but the day after its posted , it reads they signed with another team…

  • Miceazy

    Meeks… he is young and can develop…. we need a shooter and that is who he is… Mike Brown can make im play better defense… we need to build on the fly similar to the Spurs

    • http://twitter.com/gobibs Elizabeth Benson

      Per the LA Times, Meeks’ agent claims his client won’t sign anywhere for a minimum. Does this change your opinion?

      • Lakerfreak

        Then Meeks isn’t signing anywhere because the min Is what he deserves and no team in their right mind will give him more. Not to mention only a few can offer more than the min at this point.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1687134120 Gabriel Antoine Smith

    Great article, I’m usually hard on the other writers because they write articles that basically talk in circles about things that everyone and their dog knows. I wouldnt be opposed to bringing in both however this is a business and its unlikely that both can be acquired. I would go with Barbosa  as he is more of an immediate impact now kinda player which is what we need as Kobe is retiring fairly soon. However a solid SG prospect Meeks could be someone to look at during the season and possibly make a move on in the next offseason. Also as Lakerfanaticforlife999 stated Barbosa played with Nash so for Nash to have a weapon he’s already familiar with would definitely help with Barbosa coming off the bench for Kobe.

    • http://twitter.com/gobibs Elizabeth Benson

      Thanks for the kind words! I agree with you that Barbosa offers more of an immediate impact to the team. If he agrees to play for a minimum, I don’t think the Lakers should or would hesitate on signing him.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1687134120 Gabriel Antoine Smith

    ExpandGreat article, I’m usually hard on the other writers because they write articles that basically talk in circles about things that everyone and their dog knows. I wouldnt be opposed to bringing in both however this is a business and its unlikely that both can be acquired. I would go with Barbosa as he is more of an immediate impact now kinda player which is what we need as Kobe is retiring fairly soon. However a solid SG prospect Meeks could be someone to look at during the season and possibly make a move on in the next offseason. Also as Lakerfanaticforlife999 stated Barbosa played with Nash so for Nash to have a weapon he’s already familiar with would definitely help with Barbosa coming off the bench for Kobe

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mario-Reza-Jr/100000927501930 Mario Reza Jr.

    Sign both of them for the veteran Minimum contract nd save the mini mid level contract for someone else…

  • Brotha Love

    Get Meeks he has a better upside ,his outside shoot will keep the middle from being clogged up . Barbosa gets very erratic . We need a infusion of youth 

    • Jojob

      Well, Brotha Love, that infusion is inevitable. When Kobe’s contract is up, so are Gasol’s and Metta’s. Nash will only have one year left. Soon, we’ll be overflowing with youth. But right now, it’s all about winning during Kobe’s Swan Song. Barbosa is probably going to have the most immediate impact. Meeks has more upside, but he’s not going to seem so great when we get out from under the fees and restrictions from being over the cap and have some real options.

  • lakersfan#1

    i would like to see this for the lakers
    PG-Nash/BarbosaSG-Kobe/MWPSF-Ebanks/JamisonPF-Pau/MartinC-Bynum/Hill
    your probably asking why i took metta out the starting sf spot well its because ebanks showed last season that he can play d as well i think having a 6’9 athletic forward starting with nash is great because he can run the floor and finish lobs and he can hit a mid range jumper. ebanks doesnt have to take mwp minutes but just the spot.
    and if you think about it mwp off the bench is great too because we saw what he does if kobe isnt playing and he would bring strong defense along with kmart and hill that way the coach dont have to worry about having a good offensive bench but a weak defensive bench

  • ANTHONYinCALI

    Get’em both but I’d take barbosa if I had ta choose

  • BRANDO

    BOTH = NBA CHAMPIONS

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