Jamison: “Every once in a while, they [the young players] give us an excellent game, now it’s can you be consistent with it, ” Jamison said while getting dressed at his locker. “It’s good to see McGee and Crittenton out there playing well, and Nick finally got out of his slide. But my thing is, baby, we gotta’ do it for more than just one out of every eight or nine games. We gotta’ be consistent with it night and night out.”
Before I get into this, I just want to say that I have the utmost respect for Antawn Jamison. He is the consummate professional. A true warrior that brings his best effort every night; a player that has learned to be consistently productive night in and night out.
BUT............ I have a problem with that quote.
Ok, I understand that Antawn is trying to set the expectation bar for the youngsters; specifically Young and McGee. He's setting the bar pretty high, asking for consistency. But is he being fair?
Very few players come into the Association and start putting up consistent numbers; and those that do, are the very rare exceptions (LeBron James, etc..).
A look at Antawn's rookie season reveals a player that didn't put up steady "consistent" numbers. The game by game stats also show a surprising stretch in March when his minutes were reduced for a few games, presumably due to poor performance.
As a matter of fact, I was shocked to learn that Jamison did not have a very good Rookie season; and he was injured for half his second season. Surprising, considering his quotes about the lack of consistency from the Wizards young players this year. While with the Warriors, he was even called their "sometimes explosive, sometimes invisible Rookie".
Look at the minutes Jamison was given as a Rookie in 1999:
18 mpg in February
22 mpg in March
26 mpg in April
27 mpg in May
As a result of the consistent minutes (except the blip in March), Jamison was given the opportunity to improve. Even when his numbers fluctuated, sometimes wildly, he was given consistent minutes.
His first start came on March 24, 1999 against the Clippers.What was his attitude back then? This quote says a lot:
"I told myself, just go out there and have fun, don't rush things, let things come to me, let whatever happens happens,'' Jamison.
What? Have fun? NOTHING about putting up "consistent numbers"?
Absolutely nothing wrong with having an up and down Rookie season... or even having a so-so Second season for that matter. There's nothing wrong with having fun either. Basketball, even if it's your job, should be fun. Lack of improvement, on the other hand - that would be something to be concerned about.
Antawn and Coach Tapscott have to stop demanding that these young guys provide "consistency", but rather that they show improvement. Antawn only needs to remember back to his early career, to remember what it was like - and BACK OFF. Start encouraging the youngsters to get better.... and stop demanding what even he could not deliver. Accept the fact that the Rookies and Sophs will make mistakes; that they will have "off" games; and let them have the chance to play through them.... just as he was given the chance to do.
Consistent minutes may not lead to consistent production, but consistent minutes should lead to improvement.
Tap & Twan: Let the young guys improve through consistent minutes.
Oh, and Twan.... try to be more like that Rookie in 1999 having fun on a losing team, and less like the NON-Fun stick-in-the-mud Captain demanding something from others that you couldn't deliver yourself.