Jamison Likes Minutes
Washington Times columnist Tom Knott wrote this week that the Wizards' big man deficiencies are overrated, that after Brendan Haywood and Antawn Jamison get their 65 or so minutes, there are only 30 left to distribute to a cast that already includes JaVale McGee and Andray Blatche, plus front-court appearances from Dominic McGuire.
"The obsession with who is on the end of the bench - tall or short - is upside-down," Knott wrote. "Championships, after all, are not decided by 12th men."
Now, on a team that's seen as many injuries as this team has in recent years, I don't think you want to ignore those end-of-the-bench slots, and Ernie Grunfeld won't. Still, I chatted with Antawn Jamison for a couple minutes yesterday about adding another big, and he said much the same as Knott, which has to be a first in world history.
"I like to play as much as possible," Jamison said. "Sometimes they say we're gonna bring guys in so you don't have to play that many minutes, and it sounds good, but when you've got guys like myself and Gilbert and Caron, we like to play. I think the most important thing is just to be fresh and energetic for the end of the season going into the playoffs."
So are the team's four or five bigs enough?
"I play," Jamison said. "It doesn't matter how many minutes I play; as long as I'm playing the game of basketball, I'm happy. You don't know how the minutes are gonna get divided up or who's gonna get what, but I know I'm starting. So I'm gonna go out there and play starter minutes and make sure I'm healthy enough to hold my piece of the puzzle."
Jamison--who has been working out with new teammate Mike Miller here in Vegas--also did an interview with NBA TV last night, and he issued what might as well be the team's official logo this year: "If we stay healthy...."
"Our biggest thing is staying healthy, and I think if we can do that, we already have great team chemistry," he said. "Everybody's got a chip on their shoulder, everybody's got a lot to prove, and the most important thing, we want to win as many basketball games as possible and contend for a championship. And I think if we stay healthy, we're definitely one of those teams that can do that."
It's definitely a compelling argument, but it's definitely a refrain. See also, Brendan Haywood ("At the end of the day, we have what it takes to compete against an Orlando--if healthy. Our problem has been health") and Caron Butler ("If healthy, we're the best team in the Eastern Conference") and Flip Saunders ("Our main thing is to get Gilbert healthy, to get Stevenson healthy, to get Brendan healthy, and if we get healthy we think we're gonna be a very good team").
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