Meeks inherits early scoring lead

Forty players were picked before Jodie Meeks in last month’s NBA Draft. He probably deserved to go in the top 30 because the league always needs long-range shooters, and Meeks can flat-out shoot.

Remember his 54-point game in January? Meeks made a school-record 10 3-point shots in 15 attempts and hit all 14 free throws in Kentucky’s victory at Tennessee.

The 6-foot-4-inch guard put on a great show in today’s opening game of the summer league at Cox Pavilion. He shot 12-for-23 and made four 3-pointers en route to 29 points. Will that total stand up as today’s top performance?

Meeks and the Milwaukee Bucks still lost, 84-83, to the Toronto Raptors. DeMar DeRozan, a rookie from Southern California, led the Raptors with 20 points and added six rebounds and three assists. (DeRozan was featured in today’s Review-Journal sports section, talking about his early jump to the NBA and the fallout from Tim Floyd’s sudden resignation as USC coach.) Meeks is a strong bet to stick on the Bucks’ roster this season.

“I felt like I was good enough to go in the first round, but when I dropped to the second round I wasn’t disappointed,” Meeks said. “I’m blessed to be in this position, in a good fit in Milwaukee.”

Tonight’s featured matchup

Blake Griffin, the No. 1 pick in the draft, and Hasheem Thabeet, the No. 2 pick, go head-to-head at 7:30 tonight in the Thomas & Mack Center. It could be the best game of the week.

Griffin is averaging 21.5 points and 10.5 rebounds in two games for the Los Angeles Clippers.

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