Will Antawn Jamison Be the New Lamar Odom for Los Angeles Lakers?
What Odom provided the Lakers off the bench from 2008-11 was astounding. Having a point forward coming off the bench and giving them 30 quality minutes on a nightly basis made the Lakers a difficult team to slow down. Over that time period, Odom was amongst the league leader's in plus/minus ratio.
Jamison isn't used to coming off the bench on a championship-caliber roster, while Odom thrived under those conditions.
Although Odom was a train wreck in Dallas last year, he won the Sixth Man of the Year award in 2011, his final season with the Lakers.
Jamison has only been out of the first round of the playoffs once in his career, and that was back in the 2005 playoffs when he was a member of the Washington Wizards.
The Lakers will be judged based upon their postseason success, as their goal is to win a championship and anything short of that would be considered a disappointment.
There is no denying the fact that Jamison has had an excellent career in the NBA. Since being drafted in 1998, Jamison has averaged 17.2 points, 6.3 rebounds, 1.7 assists on 45 percent shooting.
Odom was drafted a year later and has averaged 14.2 points, 8.6 rebounds, 3,9 assists on 46.5 percent shooting.
Based solely upon those stats, it is evident that Jamison has been the better scorer but has been outdone by Odom in every other area.
Jamison's scoring average doesn't tell the whole story because he hasn't been necessarily efficient while scoring those points. The ex-Tarheel has averaged 16.6 shots per game, meaning he averages 1.03 points per shot
On the other hand, Odom has been able to average his 14.2 points on just 11.4 attempts per game. Put another way, Odom averages 1.24 points per shot, which is significantly higher than Jamison.
Based upon his point-per-shot average, Odom would have averaged 20.5 points per game if he took as many shots per game as Jamison.
It isn't like Jamison is younger that Odom, as he is four years Odom's senior despite the fact that he was drafted just one year before.
Odom was also a better defender than Jamison, as he was comfortable in the paint and out on the perimeter.
There aren't many scenarios in which Jamison appears to be as valuable as Odom was in the past.
Jamison just doesn't have the same skill set as Odom, but that's fine because the Lakers don't need him to. Instead, they will need him to provide scoring and a spark off the bench.
Odom's versatility was sorely missed by last year's Lakers, as their bench was listless and failed to keep them in games. A lot of responsibility will be on Jamison's shoulders to ensure that the bench is more productive next season.
Jamison has grown accustomed to being the first or second option on bad teams, but that won't be the case next season. He had the chance to continue that trend but chose to sign with the Lakers rather than the lowly Charlotte Bobcats.
That decision proves that Jamison is more interested in winning than putting up decent numbers for an awful team. But only time will tell if he is capable of being an asset on a contender.
Whether or not the Lakers achieve their lofty goals could hinge on Jamison's production, but Laker fans wish they could put their future in the hands of Odom circa 2010.
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