Central Notes: Meeks, Pistons, George

Pistons president of basketball operations and coach Stan Van Gundy has not soured on Jodie Meeks despite Meeks’ inconsistent season and expects the shooting guard to be much improved next season, Keith Langlois of Pistons.com reports. Meeks suffered a stress fracture in his back during training camp and it affected his conditioning even after he returned on December 12th, Langlois continues. Meeks, who was signed to a three-year, $18.81MM contact as a free agent last summer, has shot 34.5% on 3-point attempts after making 40.1% of his long-range attempts with the Lakers last season.  “With a good summer, there’s no reason he can’t get back to the level that we thought he could play at,” Van Gundy said to Langlois.

Here’s more from the Central Division:

  • The Pistons have some tough decisions to make on a number of players whose contracts are non-guaranteed next season, Brendan Savage of Mlive.com writes. “We know some that fit into the long-term plan,” Van Gundy said. “Others, we have to figure out where they fit into the long-term plan. We know we’re going to draft two people, at least, in June. And then free agency starts and that also brings trade responsibilities. So we will not come back with the same roster.” The contracts of Caron Butler, Anthony Tolliver, Shawne Williams and Quincy Miller contain non-guaranteed salary for the 2015/16 season.
  • Van Gundy is impacting the team more as an executive than as a coach, Drew Sharp of the Detroit Free Press opines. Sharp cites the Reggie Jackson trade as one that will shape the team for years to come, provided he re-signs with Detroit.
  • Paul George played a significant behind-the-scenes role for the Pacers while he recovered from his broken leg, according to Jessica Camerato of Basketball Insiders. George, who has played three games since returning to action, gave his teammates insights on how to defend certain opponents and the optimal ways to score against them. “He’s always giving input on how to guard people,” center Roy Hibbert told Camerato. “His IQ is pretty high just because he’s been able to excel at a high level on both ends.” George also gave advice to his teammates through in game observations, Camerato adds. “He’s out there teaching us, in huddles, and it’s important,” guard Rodney Stuckey said in the story.

Dana Gauruder contributed to this post

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