He already has a connection with the point guard — Meeks was the University of Kentucky upperclassman assigned to host a young John Wall during his campus visit in 2009. Also, Meeks has a working knowledge of Tim Frazier’s game, recognizing how Frazier had collected a triple-double in a reserve role last year with the New Orleans Pelicans. However, the relationships formed in earnest this week as Meeks and several Wizards — including Wall and Frazier — participated in a workout.
If it seems as if Meeks, 29, has moved fast to acclimate with the Wizards, then this explains his willingness to join a winning team.
Meeks, who signed a deal reportedly for two years and $7 million, has not played significant playoff minutes since his 2011-12 season with the Philadelphia 76ers. Therefore, Washington’s 49-33 record and run to the Eastern Conference semifinals served as the motivation for him as a free agent.
“They had a really good season last year,” said Meeks, who then mentioned his recent postseason dry spell. “Losing gets pretty old after a while. When you’re in this league for a while, you look to win. You always want to play well and stuff like that, and get a lot of playing time early on, but after a while you want to win. You want to contribute still, but you want to win. So I feel like I can still come in and contribute and play some significant minutes but at the same time, I want to be part of the playoffs too.”
In addition to playing on lottery-bound teams, Meeks has grappled with various injuries. Last July, he had foot surgery. Then after returning several weeks later, Meeks dislocated the thumb on his right shooting hand. Last season with the Orlando Magic, Meeks appeared in just 36 games and he has not played 70 or more games since the 2013-14 season with the Los Angeles Lakers.
During that year, Meeks filled in for an injured Kobe Bryant and appeared to be on the rise in averaging 15.7 points and shooting 40.1 percent from the three-point arc.
“The past couple years have been tough, just being injured,” Meeks said. “Coming off my career year in L.A. three years ago, it kind of looked like my career was going up and a lot of great success for me, and the injury bug kind of hit me. So it’s been a little disappointing, but I try to make the most of my opportunities.”
The injuries have passed, Meeks said he’s “100 percent” entering his ninth season. And through the early part of summer, Meeks has taken a measured approach to getting ready for the next year.
The unofficial minicamp in Vegas was also attended by Markieff Morris and newly signed Mike Scott, according to Meeks. The players got shots up and did conditioning drills but mostly spent the time getting familiar with the new Wizards in a low-pressure setting.
“You don’t want to kill yourself too much because then you might tap out in September,” Meeks said. “We’ll pick it up a little more probably when the summer evolves; right now it’s just maintaining skills.”