Back in the saddle with only a couple ’07-08 Washington Wizards evaluations to go (Caron Butler and Eddie Jordan). My take on Antawn Jamison’s season is below, head over to Bullets Forever to see what the Pradamaster and JakeTheSnake have to say.
The 2007-08 season was unquestionably Antawn Jamison’s best as a Wizard. He stayed healthy when others could not, appearing and starting in 79 games while playing more minutes (3,060) than anyone on the team, almost 500 more minutes than runner-up DeShawn Stevenson. All this burn for the second oldest Washington Wizard, who would’ve thunk?
At times, I’ve tried to refer to Jamison as “The Gentlemen,” but for the Wiz, he’s “Mr. Everything.” AJ led the team in points scored and points per game (21.4), was second in steals (106), first in total rebounds and per game (10.2, also good for 10th in the NBA), and third in three-pointers made (120).
In fact, I’ll go ahead and say that 07-08 was the best of Jamison’s career. Sure he averaged more points per game twice when he was with Golden State, but he’s never averaged a double-double before. And the only year in which his PER (20.3) was higher was when he was 6th Man of the Year with Dallas in 03-04 (21.2), and in that year, he averaged 9.7 less minutes per game.
And sure, AJ’s eFG% was only the 5th best of his career, but he went above and beyond the call of duty in shouldering a majority of the scoring load while leading a injury depleted team to the playoffs for the 4th straight year. Jamison’s shot selection was also questionable at times in ’07-08, but you really can’t argue with the second best TO% in the NBA (6.6).
In case you don’t get the message that AJ is the model of consistency, 82games.com tells us that against “good” teams, AJ averaged 20.1 ppg and 9.1 rpg. Against “average” teams, he pulled down 20.4 ppg and 10.9 rpg, and against “poor” teams, Jamison got 23.5 ppg and 10.4 rpg.
Seemingly for the Wizards as a team, making a strong showing coming out of the half in the 3rd quarter was always crucial in terms of wins and losses. Well, that’s when Jamison averaged his most points per game, 8th in the NBA scoring 6.6 points per 3rd. But perhaps the best sign of Jamison’s importance was his net +14.2 points when he was on the court, second only to Steve Nash. Oh, and Jamison’s +9.1 Roland Rating, an overall measurement of player production/performance, was 14th in the league.
Pointing out all these numbers would not mean much if we didn’t already know how important Jamison was to the Wizards franchise with his intangibles, team leadership, and community presence. It’s no coincidence that in his four years in DC, the Wiz have made the playoffs in each. Could Jamison’s karma be some sort of reversal of the Curse O’ Les Boulez? Who knows……if you even believe in curses. In the least, AJ’s arrival purged disappointments Jerry Stackhouse and Christian Laettner, and brought joy to fans in need of something to cheer about. All Wizards fans should be glad that he’s back, whatever the cost may be.
Next Evaluation: Caron Butler