The 'Overlooked' Jamison & Flip's Rotation
RICHMOND -- In my story today, I wrote about how Antawn Jamison could be invaluable to the Wizards since the team lacks a proven and reliable backup at power forward. Ernie Grunfeld brought in veterans to support Caron Butler and Gilbert Arenas when he added Mike Miller and Randy Foye. But the Wizards are hopeful that Andray Blatche can finally turn the corner and be more consistent.
Jamison is eager to have some success and contribute to a team that does more than win 40 games and reach the playoffs. He has only been on one team that advanced beyond the first round in any of his 11 seasons. And, when the Wizards played Miami in the second round in 2005, Jamison was hampered by a sore right knee.
Jamison has reached two all-star appearances in Washington, but once some fans stopped pushing for him to get traded, a few more thought he should come off the bench. Much of the talk this offseason has been centered around the new coach, the new players, the return of Gilbert Arenas and the development of the young guys. The presence of former all-stars Jamison and Butler was often taken for granted. I asked Butler if he understood why Jamison is sometimes overlooked or unappreciated.
"That's just what happens some times," Butler said. "I think because you have a flashy [player], I mean Gilbert has scored 60. I mean that just takes it to a whole 'nother level. You score 60, he's controversial at times, really flashy, does things outside the norm, so he gets a lot of the attention. But some of the guys that go under the radar, just get it done night in and night out, not always in the limelight, but just get it done and are true professionals on and off the court, sometimes those guys go overlooked. Antawn and myself, being those type of guys, sometimes what we do gets overlooked. People don't miss guys like us until we're gone."
He continued: "You know what Antawn is going to bring night in and night out. He's just a great person. I've been on a couple of teams in this league and I know he'll be a friend after basketball, that says a lot. Somebody like Antawn, I can call him through anything."
Coach Flip Saunders said he would try to reduce the minutes for Jamison and Butler, who averaged 38.2 and 38.6 minutes per game respectively, last season. Saunders said that is possible with a deep team, with players who can swing between multiple positions. He has tinkered with several different lineups this week in Richmond, using a big lineup that featured Jamison, Blatche, Haywood, Miller and Arenas; playing Arenas off the ball; Butler at shooting guard and even Nick Young at small forward.
Saunders offered a glimpse into his rotation during the Sunday scrimmage as 11 players --- Jamison, Butler, Arenas, Brendan Haywood, Mike Miller, Randy Foye, Andray Blatche, Young, Dominic McGuire, Mike James and DeShawn Stevenson --- saw the bulk of the minutes. Javaris Crittenton and Fabricio Oberto were out with injuries, but JaVale McGee spent a good portion seated on the scorer's table. I spoke with one observer who noted that McGee looked lost.
Saunders reiterated that eight players will get the bulk of the minutes, but he will use at least 10 players regularly. "You have a core of eight or nine guys, but over a game, nine and 10 are going to play," Saunders said. "They're just going to be more spot-type of guys that play 10 minuets. Not playing major, major minutes. So I told our guys I don't want our guys to think only eight guys are playing. The more guys that are capable of playing, when they go on the floor, if they play well, then they'll stay on the floor. So, we're pretty open along those lines."
You can check out Wizards' practice live on NBA.com at 10:30 a.m.
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