I don't have words for this topic.
I can only hope that by gathering quotes from others, those who have previously suffered through watching Jamison play NBA games, I can help show Clips Nation how abysmal he really is.
From Deadspin.com's NBA Shit List:
What happened to the Lakers this year? The would-be superteam lurched out to a 1-4 start, trampled its coach, and is frantically preparing to reverse its entire offensive philosophy. It's still possible for Dwight Howard, Steve Nash, Pau Gasol, and Kobe Bryant to win 70 games-they just need to win 26 in a row to get on pace.
Yes, in retrospect, it makes sense that a newly assembled collection of veteran stars wouldn't figure out how to mesh right away-particularly in an unfamiliar and demanding offense. But there's an even simpler explanation for how a spectacularly talented roster turned out to be a disjointed, disappointing, coach-killing shitshow: The Lakers signed Antawn Jamison.
Antawn Jamison is basketball death. Not everyone understands this, because there are two Antawn Jamisons in the NBA. The more famous one, the image in the public eye, is a gentleman athlete-an elder statesman since his 20s-who upholds the truest values of the game. He's a leader, a sometime high scorer without unseemly swagger or flash. He is, by popular consensus, a class act.
The other Antawn Jamison is less well known, though he's been in plain sight. That Jamison is a loser. He is a persistent, pernicious, chronic, insufferable loser, an itinerant franchise-breaker, a man who has spread failure and misery coast to coast and back again, from his rookie year with the depressing 21-29 Golden State Warriors through his current employment with the flailing 3-5 Lakers.
Is it too much to blame one team's collapse on him? What about every team he's ever played on?
His college teams at UNC:
Remember young Shaq's weird, callow, inscrutable-as-to-irony-level boast that he had "won at every level, except college and pro"? That is Antawn Jamison's actual resume. He took two loaded North Carolina teams to the Final Four, and lost in the semis both times-the second one to Utah. (But he was, to be sure, the Naismith Player of the Year.) In his 14 previous pro seasons, his teams have won a total of 15 playoff games. On the world stage, he won a bronze medal with Team USA at the 2006 FIBA championship.
As the 6th man on the Mavericks:
In 2003-04, he went to the upwardly mobile Dallas Mavericks, accepted a bench role, and won Sixth Man of the Year. Yet that team-with Dirk Nowitzki, Steve Nash, and Michael Finley-washed out of the first round in five games.
In Washington with Gilbert Arenas:
He moved on to Washington, for the brief, incandescent peak of Gilbert Arenas. His teams made it out of the first round once in four tries.
In Cleveland with (and without) LeBron James:
Then Arenas and the Wizards fell apart, and Jamison was sent to Cleveland for the stretch run in 2010, the Cavs' last shot at a title with LeBron James. Remember LeBron's final playoff series as a Cavalier, the stinkbomb that lives on in mystery? In the closeout loss to Boston, James did put up a triple-double-while Jamison went 2 for 10 with five rebounds, no assists, and two free-throw attempts.
Still, you ask, is it a stretch to say that all of this is Jamison's fault?
None of this was ever Jamison's fault. Certainly you can't blame Jamison for Arenas blowing out his knee, bringing guns to the locker room, and getting suspended for a year. He just happened to be there, the way he happened to be there for LeBron's meltdown, the way he happened to be there when Team USA lost to Greece.
That is to say, the way Typhoid Mary always happened to be in the kitchen when people got sick. Hey, she was perfectly healthy! Nothing wrong with Mary! How could it be her fault that the people who ate her food kept dying?
And how could Antawn Jamison be a loser? He's so passionate about winning that he once smashed a fruit plate in the locker room while bawling out his Wizards teammates for their lack of effort. The press could hear his tirade from outside. It was impressive. The Wizards kept losing.
The puzzle is why this is a puzzle at all. If you peel away the team-captain rhetoric, the audience-pleasing curmudgeonly complaints about the underachieving young pups around him, you are left with Antawn Jamison as a pure basketball type-the type who heaves up a ton of low-value shots, pumps up his numbers, shies away from contact, and categorically refuses to play defense. He is, in plain basketball terms, the living caricature of what fans are supposed to hate about the pro game.
Here's some nice quotes from John Krolic of Cavs the Blog (part of ESPN's TrueHoop network) discussing Antawn Jamison:
I think Antawn Jamison is a very nice man, and a very skilled basketball player. He's always gracious to the media and fans, and has clearly worked very hard on his offensive game to have been an effective scorer well into his thirties.
That said, I loathe Antawn Jamison very, very much. People often say they have an "irrational hatred" for a player. I believe that I have a very rational hatred towards Antawn Jamison. To borrow a line from Broadcast News, Antawn Jamison, while being a very nice man, is the devil.
But Jamison is a stretch 4! He's a great mid-range shooter and efficient scorer!
Offensively, Jamison's only notable skill is the ability to create shots. That means that he is able to heave the ball in the direction of the basket at a greater rate than most players who play is position. He is a decent finisher at the immediate rim. That much he has going for him. Everything else is overrated.
Jamison favors an array of unorthodox flip shots and floaters from the paint instead of simply trying to power his way to the basket and draw the foul or finish hard. When they go in, it's very pretty, and the broadcasters will inevitably comment on how unusual and impressive that part of Jamison's game is.
However, there is a reason why nobody's mid-post game looks like Jamison's - those shots don't go in very often, and he's prone to forcing them at inopportune times. Jamison made 46.2% of his shots from the 3-9 foot area, and his free-throw rate was miserably low.
As an outside shooter, Jamison is overrated as well. Jamison made 30% of his shots from 10-15 feet, 37% of his long twos, and 34.6% of his threes. He finally started shooting a lot more threes than long twos this season, which is good, but it doesn't make up for the fact that he's a ball-stopper with those outside shots and not nearly as effective of a shooter as he thinks he is. Oh, and he finished 59th among power forwards in assist rate.
That's not even the worst part. He's literally one of the worst defenders in the league:
Then there's the defense. Oh lord, the defense. The Cavs were terrible at both offense and defense last season. The offense is understandable - the player the offense was built around left, and the Cavs didn't have the talent to put up points on a regular basis. The defense, on the other hand, was embarrassing and inexcusable. It was disappointing to watch the Cavs' offensive futility. It was infuriating to watch the Cavs give up wide-open layups and threes to any team that wanted them on a nightly basis.
When the Cavs had a truly horrible defensive breakdown, which was often, I'd rewind the DVR to see what happened. A shockingly high percentage of the time, Antawn Jamison was at the root of the problem. When he's involved in a play defensively, the Cavs played 4-on-5 in 2010-11. He's not a post defender, he can't stop guys off the dribble, and he's horrifyingly bad in the pick-and-roll.
The last point was particularly glaring - he'd glide over the screen like he was thinking about showing, allow the ball-handler to go past him without offering resistance, and jog back to his man, creating a four-on-five situation. It happened over and over and over again, and it was excruciating to watch. Words cannot describe just how bad Jamison's defense was. At mid-season, I wrote that I'm not sure if Jamison could successfully defend a woman's right to vote. It was easier to get penetration against Antawn Jamison than it was against Jenna Jameson. I joke, but it was truly awful and team-crippling, especially when the guy is supposed to be a locker-room leader. How is a team supposed to play defense when their supposed best player clearly couldn't care less about it?
I believe successful teams are built around defense and efficiency, especially when they don't have a superstar. Jamison was not efficient, and his defense was an insult to all that man has achieved since the discovery of fire. And all of this happened after Jamison got abused by Kevin Garnett so badly in the 2010 playoffs that he legally must name his next child Big Ticket Jamison.
And, just for fun:
The good news is that Jamison has a big expiring contract. Maybe some team will be foolish enough to take it on. Lord knows it's happened before. For now, we can only hope.
2010-11 Grade: D Minus
Outlook for the 2011-12 Season: Please, please trade him. I can't watch him play basketball any more.
Let's look back at some highlights in case you skipped:
I'm not sure if Jamison could successfully defend a woman's right to vote.
It was easier to get penetration against Antawn Jamison than it was against Jenna Jameson.
Jamison was not efficient, and his defense was an insult to all that man has achieved since the discovery of fire.
Please, please trade him. I can't watch him play basketball any more.
It's been a great off-season so far, Doc. Let's not put a giant blemish on it.