Earlier this season, I wrote an article on how Antawn Jamison put up very solid numbers when given 25 minutes on the floor.
At the time, he was in the “dog house” and wasn’t getting on the court at all, but injuries to the team allowed him to finally get off the bench and have a chance at producing. Similarly, Earl Clark’s versatility allowed him to continue playing even with Pau Gasol back on the floor (as he initially got his chance as a result of injuries to Gasol, Dwight Howard, and Jordan Hill).
Unfortunately, Pau Gasol was sidelined once again on February 5th with a torn plantar fascia.
However, a few games after that, as a result of a consistent slot in the rotation and a larger responsibility, Antawn Jamison came alive and has produced the way many Lakers fans–including myself–had envisioned him doing so at the start of the season.
Over the past eight games, Jamison has averaged 15.1 points and 6.1 rebounds; he’s also shooting 51.1 percent from the field, and a whopping 50.0 percent from three-point land!
Some of that can be attributed to the uptick in shot attempts (11.0 per game over that eight-game stretch), but also to Antawn’s high basketball IQ, of which Kobe Bryant had his own thoughts on, according to Kevin Ding (@KevinDing) of the O.C. Register via Twitter:
Kobe’s killer quote of the night was likening Antawn Jamison to “a cockroach”: “He keeps finding the cracks.”
— KEVIN DING (@KevinDing) March 1, 2013
While the Lakers have struggled on the defensive end all season, it’s comforting to know that they have a capable offensive weapon in Antawn Jamison while an elite offensive player in his own right–Pau Gasol–recovers from injury.
Although the two are completely different at the power forward position, both are extremely effective offensively, and Jamison has actually shown signs of being a solid help-defender–even if his on-ball defensive skills aren’t his strong suit.
Regardless, although his level of play–and everyone else’s–has been overshadowed by the absolute brilliance of Kobe Bryant’s recent play, part of the Lakers’ recent success has been due to the offensive output of the 36-year-old Jamison.
Given his history and reputation of being a scorer, I would expect nothing less than for him to continue his production.