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Kobe Bryant said Antawn Jamison "is like a little cockroach" Thursday, and meant it as a compliment. Here's why:
"He just keeps finding cracks," Bryant said of Jamison's effectiveness away from the ball.
"He has great timing, and his ability to read the defense. But I think it's timing more than anything, though. A guy turns his head, and he's gone. He plays extremely, extremely well off of me. I know as soon as I get loaded up against a double team, I know I can always find him somewhere," he continued.
Mike D'Antoni was equally effusive about Jamison following Thursday's win.
"He understands spacing, he understands when to cut," Jamison said. "He's the type of basketball player that I love. I think the way he plays is easy to play with because you know what he's doing. He cuts in at the right time. He slips picks and does a lot of things that makes a smart basketball player on the floor."
Jamison chalked it up to context.
"It's so easy for me because, think about it. You've got Kobe with the ball, you've got Nash with the ball -- these are guys they've got to pay attention to. You think about the guys that are guarding me, they're looking (at the stars). I've seen so many schemes and so forth, so their head turns and I just find (space)," he said.
"Nash and Kobe, they look for you. Any time I see a head that's not paying attention to where I'm at, I just find a way to sneak in there. The ball's coming right to me. I don't have to do nothing but catch it and go right up, and that suits me well. That's what I normally do."
Which leads to the other half of his effectiveness. Jamison probably averages less time with the ball in his hands than 85% of the league's scoring types. Maybe more.
"There was some stat in college. We played Duke and I had 36, 38 points, but had the ball actually in my hands for like, 58 seconds, or something," Jamison said, before smiling sheepishly. "I can only go right, but once I go right, I might put it down."
(Chris Duhon, walking by, laughed. "Once he goes right, it's a wrap!" he yelled.)
Jamison's defensive shortcomings are well documented. He tries, but one NBA assistant described him on that end as "a flamingo." Meaning skinny-legged, high-assed, and bent at the waist. Not a good combo. Early in the season, he wasn't scoring enough to avoid being a big picture liability. Now, he's a contributor (about 13 ppg in Feb.) and it starts with his movement without the ball.