Jodie Meeks could return to the Detroit Pistons lineup by the All-Star break, according to head coach Stan Van Gundy.
Meeks has been sidelined by a broken foot since late October, and the initial prognosis is that he would be sidelined 12-16 weeks.
Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press reports that Van Gundy said Meeks could begin practicing on the team's current four-game road trip and be back by the All-Star break.
Meeks perimeter shooting ability would be a godsend for the offensively challenged Pistons, who struggle mainly at the free-throw line and from beyond the stripe. While the Pistons have legitimate perimeter threats in power forwards Ersan Ilyasova and Anthony Tolliver, few other players are connecting consistently from deep.
Reggie Jackson, Stanley Johnson, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Marcus Morris and Brandon Jennings are hitting at rates of 35 percent, 33 percent, 32 percent, 30 percent and 27 percent, respectively. The team ranks 23rd in 3-point percentage despite attempting the ninth-most 3s per game. Detroit is also dead least in free-throw percentage. The Pistons have an overall offensive rating of 101.5, 20th in the league, according to stats.nba.com.
Meeks is a career 37 percent 3-point shooter on more than four attempts per game, and hits 88 percent of his free-throws. He has played in only two games this season, suffering a broken foot against the Utah Jazz in the second game of the season.
While the Pistons offense struggles, there are indication things are heading in the right direction, with Caldwell-Pope, Johnson and Tolliver especially becoming more consistent from 3-point range. Add Meeks' shooting into the mix and one of the team's biggest liabilities this season could finally turn into the strength prognosticators expected it to be.
Now about those free throws ...