There's no doubt that by obtaining the services of Antawn Jamison in a three-team trade , the Cleveland Cavaliers have greatly increased their chances of winning the championship.
Here's Jamison's upside:
• He excels at facing up, faking and then driving right from the left side of the court -- aiming to finish at the rim or else unleash a fadeaway jumper.
• He can also drive left, but he'll then usually pull up and shoot.
• He's an excellent in-the-paint scorer with a quick release on a flip shot.
• From the left block, Jamison's right-handed jump hook is a deadly one.
• From the right block, he'll add a turnaround jumper to his jump hook.
• With his feet set, he can nail treys with regularity.
• He's an above-average rebounder.
• He's long, athletic and runs the floor with all his might.
• Having Jamison on the floor virtually prohibits the defense from double-teaming Shaq (as they could when J.J. Hickson started) and also discourages them from two-timing LeBron James.
• He's a terrific third option behind LeBron and Mo Williams, one who can spread the floor and give the Cavs exceptional firepower.
• He gives LBJ another dangerous kick-out target when the defense collapses around LeBron's penetrations.
• Jamison also provides an experienced go-to scorer when he plays on the second unit.
• Given that he's already under contract for two more years, he's less of a flight risk than Amar'e Stoudemire would be. Plus, he's a much more mature individual and a more versatile scorer than Stoudemire.
• Unlike Stoudemire, Jamison won't feel shortchanged and whine when he's not the focus of the offense.
• Using Hickson off the bench will give the Cavs an infusion of aggressive power to go along with Anderson Varejao's quickness and hustle.
On the downside of the deal:
• Several of Jamison's previous coaches have privately, but persistently, complained about his being soft and reluctant to bang.
• Indeed, he will force shots in the low post if defenders ignore his fakes and absorb his lightweight bumps.
• Jamison is an inadequate defender, whose routine lapses will wind up putting extra fouls on Shaq and Varejao.
• Jamison is also a poor passer whose sticky fingers can unilaterally abort the timing and rhythm of the offense.
Sebastian Telfair is strictly a throw-in who, except for dire emergencies, will remain glued to the bench.
Overall, the trade represents a huge boost for Cleveland, leaving no chance for it to be caught from behind by either Orlando or Boston -- and also giving Phil Jackson nightmares.
By dealing Telfair and Al Thornton, the Los Angeles Clippers open up playing time for their new arrivals from the Blazers -- Steve Blake and Travis Outlaw. Drew Gooden, if they keep him, allows the Clippers to ease DeAndre Jordan into the backup slot behind Chris Kaman by only using the young man in advantageous matchups.
The Wizards will most likely buy out Zydrunas Ilgauskas, enabling Big Z to rejoin the Cavs by the Ides of March. Washington does hope, however, that Thornton will respond to being a go-to scorer by becoming more assertive -- also, that he'll be more willing to pass knowing he'll get all the time and shots he desires.
The house-cleaning has begun in the Capitol City -- and for now, the team is barely better than the Nets. The biggest question that's left to be answered is how much of a return the Wiz will get for Gilbert Arenas.