Last week, half of you said that Brendan Haywood's summer media blitz won't impact his contract negotiations next summer. Of the remaining half, 40% of you thought that it would help him at the negotiating table next season.
This week, we're going to take a look at Antawn Jamison and his work on the glass. In 2007-08, Jamison put up the best rebounding numbers of his career, averaging 10.2 rebounds per game and 9.5 rebounds per 36 minutes. The first average was the highest of his career and the second was only eclipsed by his rookie season when he averaged 10.2 rebounds per 36. It's not often that you see a 31 year old put up career rebounding numbers, but Jamison doesn't exactly fit the mold for your average power forward anyway. Part of the credit for Jamison's career year belongs to Brendan Haywood, who clogged the lane and allowed Jamison to get up for rebounds more easily, but Jamison deserves credit as well. Going into a contract year, Jamison was out to prove that he could clean the glass while still being able to exploit defenses with his outside shot.
After signing a 4 year, $50 million extension that off-season, Jamison's rebounding numbers fell off in 2008-09. He saw his rebounds per game drop by 1.3 and his rebounds per 36 drop by 1.1. Classic case of a contract year sellout? Not exactly. One has to consider that Brendan Haywood wasn't in the lineup most of the season, unlike the year before when he played the most minutes of his career. One of the great things that Brendan does is boxing out the opposition to allow other teammates to snag the board and no one took greater advantage of this than Jamison. Without a widebody to clog the lane and box out the opposition, Jamison had to do more work to secure the board, which clearly hurt his numbers last year.
But before you go and attribute all of Jamison's career year to Brendan Haywood, consider this: Antawn averaged his third highest totals in rebounds per game and per 36 last season at the age of 32, even without the big man. The only two years he had higher totals were his rookie year and 2007-08. So while Brendan's presence does help Jamison's numbers, he clearly wasn't the only one responsible for Jamison's resurgence last season. That provides some hope that he can return to his 07-08 form with Haywood returning to the lineup.
Jamison's rebounding numbers in the light of his age are certainly unusual, but we all know that he can't keep increasing his rebounding output as he continues to age. He turned 33 in June and though many great players have still been able to rebound well at his age and older, everyone's clock is different. Is this the year that he starts his slide downhill, or will Jamison continue to buck the trend? The choice is yours.