The Breakdown: Antawn Jamison and the Art of the Slip Screen

Darius Soriano —  February 6, 2013

When the Lakers signed Antawn Jamison, there was a great hope that he’d be able to help the team offensively. The thought was that he could be the type of stretch power forward the team would need to play off of the Lakers’ big men while also providing some sorely needed scoring punch to the bench. Jamison, though struggling defensively for most of the season, has mostly been the player the Lakers’ have asked him to be. Sure, he’s been up and down and has found himself in and out of the rotation, but for the most part his scoring has been only slightly down per minute from his recent norms and his rebounding has been solid.

And while Jamison hasn’t been the deep shooter the Lakers would hope (32% on threes this year), the rest of his offensive game has been as advertised. The scoops, funky flip shots, half hooks, and floaters have been on full display this season and that variety has been a nice addition to a Laker team that could always use more players with a nice in between game to work off of the attention their star players receive.

One of the reasons that Jamison has consistently gotten good looks at the basket is because he moves well off the ball. When you narrow your focus and only watch Jamison, you’ll see a player who understands spacing and has a knack for slipping into the creases of the defense for shots close to the basket. With gifted passers aplenty on the Lakers, this skill could very well be Jamison’s most valuable to the Lakers. When Kobe or Pau or Nash draw a second defender, there’s Jamison sneaking along the baseline or cutting backdoor.

That said, as much as Jamison is the beneficiary of great teammates, he’s also quite good at creating his own openings when working off the ball. One such way he does this is by slipping screens in a manner that you rarely see other NBA players do.

Here we see the start of a play against the Hornets. Steve Blake has the ball high on the right side and Jamison is coming from the left to set a screen for him:

jamison1

Next, we see Jamison sprint towards Blake with the defense getting ready to defend the P&R action:

jamison2

However, instead of setting a pick on Blake’s man, Jamison rounds off his cut and dives down the lane line:

jamison 3

Blake sees a wide open Jamison and hits him with a perfect bounce pass. Jamison then finishes with an easy lay in right at the rim. Here’s the play in real time:

One of the reasons this play works is because of the spacing the Lakers have created on the ball side. Notice when Jamison starts his path towards Blake that Earl Clark cuts towards the area that Jamison is about to vacate. This cut opens up the area of the court that Jamison will eventually cut to. Also notice Dwight Howard holding his position along the opposite lane line and occupying his man so he can’t really help on the dive.

Most important, though, is Jamison’s smarts and instincts to stop his path towards Blake short and instead cut hard to the rim. Jamison’s man is already getting into a hedge position to help on Blake should he use the pick and Blake’s man is eyeing Jamison and getting ready to engage the screen. Jamison set up this play perfectly with his hard run towards the ball and then his equally hard dive towards the basket. Blake’s pass is just the finishing touch.

Jamison will never be a pure floor spacer and that’s okay. Because even though he can hit the long ball, his real value is in making plays going towards the basket and keeping the defense off balance with finishes in the paint. And, as we’ve seen more and more of late, it’s through this action of slipping the screen that has given him a lot of those finishes.

Darius Soriano

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27 responses to The Breakdown: Antawn Jamison and the Art of the Slip Screen

  1. Just looked over at SilverScreenandroll and saw this picture, pretty clear that Kobe should have had an and-1 for this monster dunk: http://www.silverscreenandroll.com/2013/2/6/3957858/nba-lakers-nets-seeing-is-believing-as-the-lakers-take-an-unreal-victory-in-brooklyn

    He gets hammered over the arm and in the face. But to parafrase himself, it would have taken the swag of the moment down just a notch. I kinda like how he just got his points the hard way, noe bs.

  2. I like Jamison. He’s not a great defender, but especially recently you can see the effort when he is out there. He takes whatever time he gets on the floor and plays hard, smart and within himself.

  3. Jamison’s nasty looking shots have been a source of humor and awe for me since he was at Golden State. Time has removed some of the physical skills but he is savvy player with good spatial recognition and a feel for finding the ball. He’s been putting in an honest effort on defense though he obviously still has Don Nelson’s voice in his head.

    Ebanks is apparently behind the name plate of Darius Johnson-Odom on the depth chart. After Summer League I preferred them keeping Eyenga to see if he could be converted into a defensive stopper and periodic highlight guy but Orlando nor anyone else sees that happening this year thus far.

  4. One other thing…For a guy that was playing his 5th game back from injury since November 11th, I thought Steve Blake was excellent. I read somewhere that Blake may require off-season surgery on his groin, so the problem may not be 100% resolved, but still, dude looked good yesterday. I like the impact he is having on the second unit.

  5. When Jamison got his minutes a little earlier in the season, I also liked him in pick and rolls with Steve Nash although it was a very small sample size..

    It just seems some guard-big combinations work better than others. Nash-Howard has not looked particularly good in this regard, with Howard seemingly holding the pick too long when he should dive or diving too early when Nash hasn’t quite lost his own man in Howard’s screen.

    With Nash-Jamison, even in a small sample size I got the feeling that these two play off each other very well. I thought Jamison to be a better option in the pick and pop, but he has nice timing as far as releasing from his pick, quickly getting seperation from Nash and also diving to a crease where he can be a target and not be immediately stopped by a help defender. The problem is on the other end of the court, where both Nash and Jamison are probably minus defenders. Still, I would like to see some of the Nash-Jamison pick and roll when Kobe is on the bench as it forces the defense to contract and yield open shots if Jamison can’t score himself.

    Does anybody have access to the official video software to take a look at the Nash-Jamison two-man game? Would be interesting to see whether a closer look validates the immediate eye test.

  6. I´ve rooted for `Tawn (as Brooks called him after the game) since he was a Tar Heel, for a number of reasons, which I won´t bore you with, and was happy that he signed with us –
    It´s great to have high b.ball IQ vets finding their groove, isn´t it?
    Thanks for the breakdown Darius –
    From SS&R (I took a a gander at the article because The Dane had mentioned it), thought some of you would like this:
    Meanwhile, Kobe Bryant reverted back to the bomber Mamba we’ve seemingly long-since forgotten, slumping in his efficiency (9 for 24), but hitting key shots in the fourth quarter, including a titanic dunk over Kris Humphries and Gerald Wallace, which looked just as devastating in person as it did on the video I just watched seventeen times.
    [from TheGreatMambino]
    Boy, I´d sure have liked to be there!!

  7. Jamison is playing hard right now, and everybody else too. It’s not 33-points-of-the-bench shot-happy Jamison we saw two months ago. Now he gives more effort on D and doesn’t try to hard on O, just takes what opposition defense gives to him, makes simple plays (simple for his skill, he’s a very good offensive player).

  8. Dwight needs to suck it up and play. These are the expectations he needs to deal with if he wants to be a leader and a franchise player for the Lakers. If the only thing holding him back is pain….well I may be old school, but that is not a valid excuse, not when Gasol/Hill are out and the entire season is potentially on the line. Show us how badly you want to win, and more importantly, show your teammates how badly you want to win. Kobe is trying to turn Dwight into a leader, and it’s time for Dwight to respond.

    Dwight made an interesting statement in the Steven A. Smith interview. He said it took Kobe and Shaq a few years before winning a ring. What was the point of this comment? Kobe was a young pup learning the NBA game in those years. Dwight is on a team with aging vets who already know all about winning rings. He seems to be suggesting that fans should be more patient regarding this team, after all, it took Kobe and Shaq a few years. He just doesn’t seem to get it. Management has gone all in. Nash is approaching 40 and Kobe has two years left on his contract. There is no time for patience, or to wait a few years……. Winning time is NOW, despite Dwight’s pathetic attempts to keep our expectations in check.

    His statement offers a clue into his mindset… that he still has plenty of years left to win a ring. There seems to be a lack of desperation to win the ring this year and this attitude may be contributing to his unwillingness to play until he is pain free. Suck it up Dwight!

  9. Up to 6 Weeks – Partial Tear of the Planter Fascia in Right Foot.

    Damn, right when we were starting to turn it up.

  10. Tra – Minimum 6 weeks maximum 12 weeks #theregoesourseason

  11. Breaking news Pau Gasol out at least 6 weeks with partial tear of plantar fascia

  12. that really sucks about Pau, put simply Dwight is gonna have to come back and play like an MVP pretty sharpish or we are in deep doo doo

  13. In light of the news about Pau–does anyone definitively know the answer to these two questions: (1) Is Dwight Howard medically cleared to play basketball? (2) Can Dwight make his current injury any worse by playing?

    I think there is a lot of information and misinformation roaming around the rumor mill about those two issues, and it would be interesting to know the answer.

    For example, if the answer is (1) “yes” but (2) “also yes…” Then it’s pretty tough to fault a guy for sitting….

  14. not that I was expecting a trade (nor do I think it’s a good idea), but I wonder how this would affect pau next season. If he’s out for the season, it would make it difficult to trade him. If he comes back before the season ends, who knows if he will be at full strength and who does it benefit? I’d rather have him come back healthy than try do it halfway. I don’t think he’s the type who can really play through serious injuries. There are only a few guys who can do that, and that’s not a knock on Pau.

  15. Oh man that is so not cool… and with Hill also being out.

    Which plug-and-play bigmen are on the market? Kenyon Martin seems to be the perfect pickup to me, a hard nosed defender, who should come as a bargain, and should be hungry to prove his worth. Does anybody know if he is in shape and ready to go?

  16. True indeed Shaun.

    Pau’s Route

    Rehab – 6 to 8 Wks

    Surgery – 10 to 12 Wks

  17. need to get a replacement guy to help out. If they can find someone workable, still think they could be ok…Of course, that assumes..1) Dwight’s health resolves soon “ish” and 2) no further injuries….which has and will be a bit of an issue, with others having to play big mins…

    And, big question…will the team give up?

  18. Well, if the knee tendinitis was still bothering him, there’s plenty of time to recover from that at the same time.

    K-Mart is probably the best big out there that could be had for minimum or near-minimum salary, but does he really fit? A Kurt Thomas/Marcus Camby-type would really be the sort of player that could mesh well–a defensive four that rebounds and can hit 18-footers. Maybe Phoenix is dumb enough to let Channing Frye go.

  19. Completely Agree Dane

    Losing not 1 but possibly all 3 of our top frontline players for the year with Howard being the possibility of still playing really would force any team to look at possible replacements.

    I think that kenyon is the best possible signing we could make and with the other possibilities being antonio mcdyess (if he still wants to play, it was rumored a while back he wanted back in), Josh Harrellson, Troy Murphy (Barf), and Donte Greene, who could be a very interesting add as he is tall 6-11 and can shoot which may translate into Dantonis system but had surgery at the beginning of the system

    We can also look at any possible trade that may be possible but for all of us looking at a possible Gasol trade – those are now out the window and really leave us with very little to offer anyone else other than …. what Meeks?

    If only Chris Anderson was still on the block?

  20. Channing Frye is out for the season.

  21. $%$^$%#$!$#!!!!!!!!!!!! Well… we do have that Jordan Hill injury exception… maybe something will happen soon, but all 3 of our bigs out, no way we stand pat.

  22. It would be almost impossoble for the team not to sign somebody, either from the D League or sitting at home. One player not coming back, another not coming back for at least six weeks, and the third hurting at the moment with no known timetable too return. Checking D League rosters as we speak for that diamond in the rough, with all the bad luck lately something good has to happen right.

  23. can david stern void the pau trade because of the basket ball reason, so we can get his little brother back?

  24. One broken leg, one torn shoulder labrum, one torn hip labrum & surgery, one torn plantar fascia, and one abdominal surgery.

    I’ve learned more about human anatomy in this disappointing season than in all my years of education.

  25. Snake bitten this season. But, as Metta said this is an opportunity to do something spectacular. Well for one, no more wrestling antics or perceived punches, Metta.

    The duke, duke, duke, Duke of Earl has played out of this world this season, but relying on him to anchor the middle in a small lineup may be overwhelming. The Lakers now have Sacre as the starting center…Sacrebleu!

    Pau’s injury is the only thing that will get him rest, and allow him a valid reason to decline playing for his country. This down time now and in the summer should be restorative to his game and mobility. Now he can hit the weights and gain strength. Reshape his body and come back next season with a little muscle bulk.

    Get well soon, Jordan Hill and Pau Gasol.

    Get well and come back focused and ready to drive the team to the playoffs, Dwight Howard.

    Keep the drive alive, Lakers.

  26. These are interesting times–but not just for the Lakers. They certainly have a chance against the Celtics tomorrow.