Looming Large: Antawn Jamison

Antawn Jamison is doing his best to keep his team afloat.

Before the season began, the Washington Wizards envisioned a strong playoff team that centered around a "three-headed monster" that would include all-stars Gilbert Arenas, Caron Butler and Antwan Jamison. Arenas has been out for a majority of the season with a knee injury, and Butler has been out for the last month with a hip injury. While Washington is still alive in the Eastern Conference playoff-race, they are starting to flounder and Jamison is doing his best to be a one-headed monster and keep his team afloat.

Jamison, a former 4th overall draft selection (1998), has always been considered a prolific scorer but has been criticized for his lack of intensity on defense and on the glass. Now, Jamison has stepped up his overall game and is doing it all for Washington. While Jamison isn't considered a great defender, he is beginning to hold his own and is no longer a liability in the post on D. Where Jamison has dramatically improved is as a rebounder, as he is currently averaging 10.4 boards per game, which is an entire rebound more per game than his previous career high.

Where Jamison thrives is on offense, because he causes a difficult matchup for any player in the NBA. Jamison blends the size of a power forward (6'9, 235 lbs.) and the skills of a shooting guard. Jamison is currently averaging 21 points per game and can score from all over the court. He can post up his opposition or can face them and knock down the jump shot consistently.

One weakness that Jamison has is that he can disappear in games. Jamison has scored as high as 41 points this season, but has also gone ice cold and has put up 3 for 11 shooting nights. Jamison has a difficult time creating for himself, which accounts for his inconsistency.

Orlando played Washington earlier in the year, and Jamison had one of his off nights, shooting 6 of 21 from the field. Jamison will face Orlando tonight, and the Magic will try to keep him in check and will attempt to build on an 8.5 game Southeastern Conference lead. Rashard Lewis and Hedo Turkoglu will likely take turns guarding Jamison, with Lewis getting a brunt of the work. If Jamison is hot, there isn't much Lewis can do to stop him, but the best way to slow Jamison down is to get a hand in his face when he's on the perimeter, and to play physically against him in the post. Orlando will face Jamison and the Wizards two more times after Wednesday, and it will likely be the last time the Magic see only a third of the three-headed monster, so they need to take advantage of just one all-star and try to make sure the dynamic Jamison doesn't heat up.