What to do with Antawn Jamison

The veteran forward hasn’t been shooting well, he’s been hurting and he doesn’t like coming off the bench. Awesome.

From the Plain Dealer:

The knee was good enough for practice Thursday — the first time since playing in Saturday’s game against Sacramento — though Jamison is still questionable for Friday’s game at Philadelphia. The 34-year-old has had an MRI and tests that show nothing structurally wrong, and while surgery hasn’t been discussed, Jamison also said he is “not going to deal with it throughout the season.”

If it sounds like Jamison is frustrated, he is.

“So far, as a whole, this season has been frustrating — as a team and as an individual,” Jamison said. “But this is when you stay positive, continue to work knowing that you’re doing the right things and hopefully you get a breakthrough on both parts.”

That’s why Jamison continues to work on his shooting; he figures it has to get better eventually. Typically, shooting is a strength for the 6-foot-9 forward, but he’s hit just 32 percent in three games this season. In the preseason, he was 8-for-38 (.211) and missed one full game and most of another because of his knee injury. 

If the Cavs are going to have any hope of making the playoffs, Jamison has to be a big contributor. But can he do it while coming off the bench?

Jamison’s new job as a sixth man requires delicate handling, and he won’t say he’s unhappy with it. He simply smiles big and chuckles softly. His hesitance in speaking and his face say all the things he can’t before he utters the right words.

“It’s just an adjustment,” Jamison said Thursday. “I’ll leave it at that. It’s an adjustment.

“My job is to do whatever they ask me to do. I will never question anything. I’m a team player. Whenever they call for me to go out there on the court, I’ll be ready to play.”

Jamison came off the bench only one other time in his career, when he won the Sixth Man of the Year award for Dallas in 2004. He averaged 14.8 points on 54-percent shooting that season — the highest percentage of his career — in 29 minutes per game.

That experience and Jamison’s increasing age are both reasons why Scott says he envisioned a smooth transition to the bench. 

On one hand, I feel bad for the guy.  He left the woeful Wizards to come to a championship contender only to wind up back in a similar losing/rebuilding situation. That’s gotta suck.

On the other hand, he played like shit in the playoffs (hey! They’re gonna throw it over the top to KG! Stop fronting him!!!!!!!) and the Cavs are paying him $14 million a year through the end of next year.

I really don’t want Jamison starting.  The Cavs defense is mediocre as it is and I don’t think the aging Jamison can keep up with the starting small forwards of the league. Plus, I like the idea of Jamison providing the scoring for the second unit.

However, the Cavaliers’ best case scenario is for Jamison to play really well and get traded to a contender. And if he only plays well as a starter, it might behoove the Cavs to start him, just so he can put up some decent numbers. But will a playoff team even want him as a starter? I dunno. It’d be best for everyone if he does well as Cleveland’s sixth man.

Before I go, one programming note to pass along. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to catch tonight’s game against the Sixers. I have company in town and I’m working all day tomorrow.  Not sure if I’ll have the time to watch the game (though I’d like to), let alone write it up. Same goes for tomorrow’s game against Washington, it’s my buddy’s birthday and again, company is in town. I’d like to happen, but I won’t promise you anything.

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1 Response to What to do with Antawn Jamison

  1. Anonymous says:

    You're not missing much… Another 14 point lead from the first quarter blown in the 3rd quarter. Jamisons scoring ability from off the bench is desperately needed. If anyhing he's a proven threat that opposing teams have to show the respect to. I've seen Varejao post up three times…. Not what I want to see from our offense. Moon also looks timid and isn't hoisting 3 balls he has a good look at. I'd also like to see more of Gibson. He seems other than Hickson, Gibson seems to be the most settled player in this offense. And I'd like to see less of Parker. I'll admit, I've never liked Parker. I don't think there's enough room for a spot up 2 guard who can't create his own shot on this team. I'd prefer to see Moon play some 2 guard and more of Jawad Williams coming as a 3.Nick

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