The entire load of upsetting the Cleveland Cavaliers in the first round of the playoffs now rests solely on Antawn Jamison.
The reason behind is out of the Big Three in Washington Wizards, two are injured and these days Jamison is the key player for the team.
Forward Jarvis Hayes said that Jamison is the leading scorer for the Wizards now and he would have to be a lot more aggressive in the offense. The other players’ main job to now is to make things as easy as possible for Jamison on the court. Hayes expects things to get difficult as teams would now be targeting Jamison more than before.
Every player on the Wizards’ team has had his role changed ever since Gilbert Arenas injured his knee and Caron Butler his hand. However, it appears that Jamison has been affected the most by the injuries. He does not have the luxury to bide for time and find open spaces as defenders of opposing team are concentrating elsewhere. No longer can Jamison have a night off as his two team mates are not there to fill in for him.
Coach Eddie Jordan said with Butler and Arenas out with injuries, Jamison would have to take on added responsibility of being the passer, the setup player and also the scorer.
Jamison was in a similar situation for several season when he was with the Golden State Warriors. As a matter of fact, he managed to score 51 points in back to back games way back in 2000.
He joined the Wizards in 2004 and has primarily played the wise veteran to young Arenas’ impulsiveness. This statistics have been quite consistent in the last few years. He usually scores 20 points and 8 rebounds in each game. In the regular season this year, Jamison has averaged 19.4 points and 8 rebounds.
Jamison knows that he cannot carry the Wizards alone. He said that it was too much pressure and a player could get into trouble trying to do it because it was impossible to the things that Arenas and Butler do all by himself.
For the Game 1 against the Cavaliers, even though Jamison knows he cannot alone defeat them, his team will look up to him for more points, rebounds and on-court leadership.