Happy Thursday, readers. Some traditions deserve to be resurrected, if only temporarily. And such is the case today, as the utter inactivity on the sports landscape is a worthy reason to bring back the practice of Thursday Trade Reviews. Today's subject, as outlined by the large headline text, is the deal that sent Antawn Jamison to the Washington Wizards during the summer of 2004.
Background: Antawn had been one of two identically french-sounding forwards acquired by the Mavericks in the previous offseason. Jamison had previously plied his craft for the Warriors of Golden State, proving himself a capable scorer who specialized in bringing energy to the floor. He proceeded to play exemplary basketball for the disappointing 52-30 Mavericks, who lost in five games to the Kings of Kalifornia's Kapital during round 1. Donnie Nelson sought a transformation, and both of the Ant(oi/aw)n(e)s were shipped off. Walker was disposed of for Jason Terry, Allan Henderson and a first rounder that was subsequently passed off due to existing draft debts. Despite this sizable haul, however, the Jamison deal leaves the more significant imprint of the two.
Antawn Jamison was by no means a bad player during the '03-'04 season. Although he started only twice, he played in every game and was named the Sixth Man of the Year. Lamentably for young Antawn, freshly off his first playoff appearance, the great and all-knowing Donnie ruled him expendable. He was dealt to the Washington Wizards for 'troubled' swingman Jerry Stackhouse, has-been Christian Laettner, and the draft rights used to select Devin Harris.
In a nutshell, both teams got more than they bargained for. Jamison, though a doubtlessly solid player, had been nothing more than a sixth man nonetheless. Stackhouse was labeled a ballhog and clubhouse cancer who lacked the ability to compensate for those two detriments. The draft was seen as mediocre at best.
Antawn Jamison has reverted to every bit the player he once was. Through his three seasons as a wizard, he's averaged approximately twenty points and chipped in eight and a half rebounds. In addition, he was an absolute monster during the Wizards' short playoff run of this past season, averaging 32 points and 9.8 boards during a lamentably stunted first round series of four games.
Jerry Stackhouse is the vocal leader of the Dallas Mavericks. I don't know what to attribute to his complete turnaround, but most hypothesize that it is winning that changed Stack. He is not humble and never will be; that is what makes him so lovable. But he has become realistic, and does not demand the ball anymore. He accepts it when offered, and although his play is erratic the dividends manifest themselves often enough to keep him from being a liability.
Devin Harris has not yet lived up to the Tony Parker comparisons. But he is undoubtedly a keeper. He's shown three flaws to date: A lack of shooting range, proneness to injury, and physical weakness. The weakness is relegated only to that dimension, however, for Devin is as mentally tough a player as the Mavericks have had in a decade or more. He is relentless and determined, a good defender, and possesses quickness envied by 99% of this league's players.
He has not yet elevated anywhere near what most would term his 'peak', but most point guards are few to develop. Excuse his lack of outstanding statistics, and examine the concrete evidence- the team is as its best with Harris at the point.
Personally, I'd rather have what the Mavs got. But I'm sure there are those out there who will vehemently disagree. So let me attempt to wash away all premises of a bias, and rule objectively...
In conclusion, I'd have to call this trade a wash in terms of benefit or lack thereof received as well as given up.
But there's a second category, which simply examines the quality brought in by each team. And in this case, I'd have to declare a definite win-win. This transaction took players out of a bad situation and brought them into an optimal one all across the board.
Have a solid rest of the day.