Antawn Jamison is finally showing the basketball world why the Los Angeles Lakers pursued him in free agency this summer. Many thought the Lakers would never be able to replace versatile forward, Lamar Odom, but apparently GM Mitch Kupchak is proving the doubters wrong AGAIN.
Jamison, the 36-year old forward, may be a little long in the tooth, but he has been on a tear lately since playing primarily in the power forward spot. Jamison’s recently found aggressiveness will bode well for the Lakers as they move further into the season, as Jamison is providing a much needed shot in the arm to an otherwise inconsistent bench.
Scoring 19 points in the Lakers’ win over the Dallas Mavs this past Saturday, Jamison ran the floor, played good defense, and grabbed 15 rebounds. The previous night against Memphis, Jamison went for 16 points, along with seven rebounds. Jamison’s performance in those two games have definitely been Odomesque to say the least.
With Jamison putting the ball on the floor, running and cutting to the basket, and hitting timely three pointers, it may be safe to say the Lakers have found their new 6th man. What has been key to Jamison’s success could be Mike D’Antoni’s willingness to play him at power forward, even at the expense of Jordan Hill. This is something Mike Brown did not do, but instead elected to play Hill and Jamison together with Jamison as the small forward. In this position, Jamison seemed both out of place and timid, but not so under D’Antoni where he is flourishing.
Though Hill is a very active offensive rebounder and brings a ton of energy to the floor, Jamison could be a consistent 15 and 10 player for the Lakers, and that is what the Lakers need right now. If he continues to be aggressive on both ends of the floor, Jamison gives the team a different and much needed dimension. The key will be if he can maintain what he is now doing for the long-haul. If he can, the Lakers have found their leader for an often ostracized bench. Finding minutes for Jordan Hill while continuing to establish Jamison’s role makes the Lakers all the more dangerous.