In the excitement that surrounded Washington Post beat writer Ivan Carter's shout out to Bullets Forever last week, we never really took the time to appreciate what else he had to say after he mentioned us. Let's take a look back at the quote:
Since we're the only ones that can truly appreciate this fact, let's go about doing it. We can all agree that Jamison has been the Wizards' MVP this season, making key tip shots, and getting hot at the right time. Antawn has been the one constant in a season full of variables. He's currently leading the NBA with the largest net impact on team scoring and rebounding this season. Simply put, the Wizards would not be where they are right now without Antawn Jamison.
But how does his 20/10 season stack up with the other Bullet/Wizards to accomplish the feat? Let's begin by comparing Jamison's points and rebounds per game with the other players in franchise history to accomplish the feat.
As you can see, Jamison stats are nice, but most of the players on the list had better averages. The thing is, when you look at the averages, you have to also account for the pace at which the teams played. A team that plays at a faster pace is going to have more field goal attempts which leads to more scoring and rebounding opportunities. To get a better understanding of the speed at which these teams played, take a look at table #2 that lists the pace factor for each player's team during their respective 20-10 seasons.
Suddenly, Jamison's numbers look a lot more impressive. I'm not mathematical enough to extrapolate those numbers to show what each player's numbers would look like if they all played at the same pace, but it's clear the gap between Jamison and some of the other players on the list would narrow significantly. I'm almost positive that with an extra 16.4 possessions that Antawn could put up the extra 2.2 points and 2.3 rebounds per game necessary to have the same numbers as Elvin Hayes, who arguably has the second best numbers on the list. Bellamy's pace factor was unavailable, but I'm confident his teams were even faster than Walt's (more on that in a second), which would make it more likely that Jamison's numbers are closer to Walt's than it would have appeared at first.
I feel pretty safe in guessing that Bellamy played at the fastest pace of everyone on the list because as you've probably noticed by looking at the table, the pace of basketball has been in a steady decline since the . Just take a look back 25 years, the 97.4 pace factor of Jeff Ruland's '83-'84 Bullets (fourth slowest in the NBA that year) would be good enough for the second fastest pace in the NBA this season, better than both the Suns and the Warriors.
Even if you take away the pace factor and all the other fancy statistics, there's one thing that makes Jamison's 20/10 year extraordinary. Compare the height and age of the players on the list and tell me which one would be picked as the least likely to be a double digit rebounder.
If you're torn between Johnson and Jamison, keep in mind that while Gus Johnson was only 6-6, he played at a time where the league was much shorter on average. It's also worth mentioning that he had plenty of jaw-dropping athleticism to compensate for his lack of height. On the other hand, Jamison plays in a league where 6-8 is considered by most to be undersized for a PF and while you certainly can't say he was un-athletic, he's nowhere near the leaper that Gus Johnson was.
Averaging 20 points and 10 rebounds for an entire season is nothing short of phenomenal. When you factor in when Antawn is doing this, not only regarding where the NBA is at in terms of pace, but also where Jamison is at in his career, it makes his accomplishment this season that much more impressive. Hopefully I'm not the only one that appreciates it.