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Antawn Jamison excited to join Wizards broadcasts: 'It's a special moment for me'


Antawn Jamison excited to join Wizards broadcasts: 'It's a special moment for me'

When Ernie Grunfled traded Antawn Jamison to the Cavaliers during the 2009-10 season, many Wizards fans assumed that would be the end of the Jamison era in D.C. A great player and crowd favorite during his run in Washington, the former North Carolina star was part of the Washington franchise's best success since the 1970s, and Jamison built a special bond with the city and its fans over six seasons.

And in a flash, Jamison was gone.

He would play five more seasons - three in Cleveland and then one each with the Lakers and Clippers - but Jamison's time with the Wizards was both delightful and volatile, a wild time for basketball and wild off-court stories. The good news, now, is that Jamison will be back with the Wizards as part of CSN's broadcast coverage of the team. 

"Every time I get the opportunity to come back to D.C. I’m always excited," Jamison said of his new role. "It’s a special moment for me."


Jamison will work on CSN's Wizards broadcast team in a number of roles, both as a studio analyst in Wizards Pregame Live and Postgame Live working next to Frank Hanrahan, Tony Massenburg and Ron Thompson as well as working on the game coverage with Chris Miller and the legendary pairing of Steve Buckhantz and Phil Chenier for some games. His debut will come Tuesday night as the Wizards take on LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. 

It's remarkable to think that some of Jamison's most memorable games came in the playoffs against James and Cleveland, and in a way, opening his Wizards television career with a game against LeBron seems full circle. Jamison talked about those games, and the Wizards dashed title hopes, especially in the years when teamed with Gilbert Arenas and Caron Butler Washington had one of the best teams in the East.

"I remember I had a picture of the Larry O’Brien trophy in my locker because deep down in my heart I knew that we had the talent to do something special," Jamison said of those teams.

Stories of the downfall of those Wizards teams are now over-told, the demise of Agent Zero from both injury and off-court decisions. Jamison wonders if he could have done more in those days, even though he never found himself in trouble, but as a teammate, captain, and friend.

"As you get older you always say to yourself, ‘If I would have paid more attention to this or got to that person and talked to him.’ At the time it felt like you were doing enough, I was the captain, being positive, being the perfect teammate, but it wasn’t enough. If I could go back and just find a way to talk to Gil or whoever it was to try to keep those outside distractions out. I think that was the biggest problem that we had."

The collapse of those playoff Wizards teams into a rebuilding collection of square pegs and round holes was difficult for Jamison.

"I have my fondest memories, and my best moments as a professional athlete, occurred when I was in the D.C. area," he said. "I was upset—like how could something so good turn around 180 so quickly? And, you know, things just kind of exploded."

With time comes perspective, and with Jamison now out of the NBA for two years and away from Washington since 2009, he has been able to watch the current Wizards team grow and sees them as a threat in the East facing similar foes as his Washington squad did some eight years ago.

"You look at the Wizards now and they went through that whole process of getting John Wall with the No. 1 pick, and Bradley Beal," Jamison said, before conceding, "yeah you got the LeBron hurdle."

Though the Wizards are slumping right now, the NBA season is a marathon, not a sprint. Jamison said the Wiz need more bench production and the team is in the hunt to come out of the East.

"I think if the Wizards can stay healthy, and like I said get some more activity from the bench, they can compete with anybody," Jamison said. "There’s not going to be a playoff matchup where you’re going to be like, ‘Well, it can go this way or this way.’ I think it’s all about matchup and most importantly, the team staying healthy and getting their confidence at the right part of the season."

Jamison has the next six months to hopefully talk Wizards basketball, but before his first day working as an analyst, he has some emotions to sort through. Now a father of four kids, Jamison remembers three being born while he was playing with the Wizards, including his 8-year-old son A.J. that was born at Sibley Hospital. He knows the area well - he lived in Friendship Heights and Bethesda as a player - and the opportunity to talk basketball with Buckhantz and Chenier seems to resonate the strongest. 

"I feel like Buck and Phil, after games we would talk basketball and just life and things like that and now to get the opportunity to call a game with them it’s special because I know these guys," he said. "I couldn’t imagine learning from a better team than those two guys because of the history that we do have and, like I said, I remember times we’d be on a plane or on the bus after a game and good times just talking."

It won't all be learning either. The first time Buckhantz catches Jamison putting on makeup for the TV cameras should be interesting.

"You know Buck is a funny guy and most people don’t really see it but I used to just joke about anything with him," Jamison explained. "He’s been doing his own makeup before, about to go on, and I’m like ‘What are you doing makeup for?’ And now I’m the one that’s got to put on makeup."

Don't expect Jamison to intrude on the chemistry that Buckhantz and Chenier have displayed for years, and it will be interesting to get Jamison's perspective Wednesday as the Lakers come to town. That game marks Jamison's first work as an in-game analyst, and will also be the last game of Kobe Bryant in D.C. as the former MVP announced his retirement at the end of the season. Jamison played with Bryant in Los Angeles, and has done TV work as a Lakers studio analyst, providing an intimate knowledge that could provide keen insight.

Jamison knows he will have to learn his spots during the broadcast, including any last-second shots. Asked specifically if he would try to replicate the famous DAGGER call, he laughed and said, "We’ll leave that to Buck."

If there was one point Jamison made again and again about coming back to work on Wizards basketball, it came about the familiarity and comfort of being in D.C. The words seemed so genuine about his excitement to work on Wizards basketball, and it's not like Jamison hasn't had other opportunities, working in L.A. with the Lakers broadcast. But it was clear this seemed a special opportunity.

"There’s just so much history," he said. "You couldn’t script this out at all."

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What are Bradley Beal's chances of earning All-NBA?

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What are Bradley Beal's chances of earning All-NBA?

Bradley Beal has been indispensable for the Wizards this season with John Wall having missed 33 of their 70 games, or nearly half of their schedule so far. Beal's numbers are up in several categories from last season and he earned his first All-Star selection as a result.

Becoming an NBA All-Star is very difficult. Usually, about six guards per conference are picked each year. Being All-NBA is even more exclusive, as only six guards are selected from the entire league.

Wall has done it before and Beal may be in position to accomplish the feat himself this season. As of now, Beal could be considered on the bubble for third-team All-NBA.


It is an extremely competitive race and there are several locks to earn the honors. At this point, guys like James Harden and Russell Westbrook should get in easily. But after that, the next four spots are hard to sort out.

Based on his numbers, Damian Lillard of the Blazers should be a shoe-in. He is the best player on the third-place team in the Western Conference and is second among all NBA guards in points per game (26.6). He is also averaging 6.5 assists and 4.4 rebounds. He has already been All-NBA twice in his career and should get his third nod after this season.

DeMar DeRozan of the Raptors is probably the next-most likely to get in. He has led the top team in the Eastern Conference, was an All-Star starter in February and got his first All-NBA selection last year.

After those is where it gets interesting. The reason why is injuries. Stephen Curry in any other year would be a guarantee for All-NBA, but as of now he has played just 50 games. Consider that the NBA requires a player to appear in 58 games or more, or 70 percent of his team's games, to qualify for statistical leaderboards. 


Curry has returned to practice, but due to health and possibly rest down the stretch of the season, there is a chance he doesn't hit the 58-game threshold. That may present an interesting question for the voters.

Kyrie Irving of the Celtics is also hurt. He has played in 60 games with 11 left on Boston's schedule. The same goes for Jimmy Butler of the Timberwolves. He is rehabbing a torn meniscus and currently has only played 56 games. 

Chris Paul of the Rockets has appeared in 53 games due to injuries. Though his numbers could put him in the All-NBA conversation, Devin Booker of the Suns has played in just 54 games.

If injuries do preclude Curry in particular from getting in, then the door could be open the door for Beal. He would then have to beat out guys like Victor Oladipo of the Pacers, Irving, Butler and others.

Setting aside the most likely three to get All-NBA - Harden, Westbrook and Lillard - and Curry, let's take a look at how Beal stacks up statistically to the rest of the pack. 

Bradley Beal - 23.3 ppg, 4.7 apg, 4.5 rpg, 1.2 spg, 46.3 FG%, 37.4 3PT%

DeMar DeRozan - 23.7 ppg, 5.1 apg, 4.0 rpg, 1.1 spg, 46.1 FG%, 32.4 3PT%

Victor Oladipo - 23.3 ppg, 4.2 apg, 5.2 rpg, 2.3 spg, 47.1 FG%, 36.6 3PT%

Kyrie Irving - 24.4 ppg, 5.1 apg, 3.8 rpg, 1.8 spg, 49.1 FG%, 40.8 3PT%

Jimmy Butler - 22.2 ppg, 5.0 apg, 5.4 rpg, 1.9 spg, 47.3 FG%, 35.6 3PT%

Devin Booker - 24.9 ppg, 4.7 apg, 4.5 rpg, 0.9 spg, 43.2 FG%, 38.3 3PT%

Chris Paul - 18.8 ppg, 7.9 apg, 5.6 rpg, 1.7 spg, 45.9 FG%, 38.5 3PT%


As you see, not a whole lot is separating those guys. It may come down to team performance and other factors.

Working in Beal's favor is that he's been the most durable of the bunch. He has played in every one of the Wizards' games this season.

Beal has also helped keep his team in contention despite Wall's absence. The Wizards are on pace for 47 wins, not far off their 49 victories last year, and Beal has been the biggest reason.

But Irving's case is helped similarly by all the injuries in Boston, including to Gordan Hayward. He has been the best player on the second-best team in the Eastern Conference.

Oladipo has led the Pacers to an impressive season despite not having another All-Star in the lineup. DeRozan, Beal, Irving and Butler have better supporting casts.


Say injuries do work against Curry, Paul, Irving and Booker. And assume DeRozan is safely in as the fourth guy behind Harden, Westbrook and Lillard. That could mean Beal gets in alongside Oladipo.

If Curry, Paul or Irving get in despite missing double-digit games, that would probably bump Beal out of the mix. Oladipo has slightly better numbers and has drawn lots of acclaim for being the best player on a surprise Pacers team and he's no guarantee himself.

Beal has 12 games left to prove his case and clearly a lot of factors are in play, but the idea of him making All-NBA for the first time is not out of the question.

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Wizards at Spurs: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

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Wizards at Spurs: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

Bradley Beal, Otto Porter, Kelly Oubre, Jr. and the Washington Wizards battle LaMarcus Aldridge, Rudy Gay, Tony Parker and the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday night.

Here is all you need to know: TV, live stream and radio info, tip-off time, plus three things to watch:


Where: AT&T Center
Tip-off: 9:30 p.m.
TV: NBC Sports Washington (pregame coverage begins at 8:30 p.m.)
Live stream: NBCSportsWashington.com
Radio: 1500 AM

Wizards are trending up

The Wizards have had some steep ups and downs in recent weeks. They lost three in a row from Feb. 28 through March 4 and that turned into five losses in seven games, their worst stretch since John Wall injured his left knee. But now, with two straight wins, the Wizards appear to be in good shape. They have won four of their last six games and all of those wins came against teams currently holding playoff spots.

The Wizards enter Wednesday night sitting fifth in the Eastern Conference. They have been off the past three days and during that break the Pacers won a game and pushed ahead into fourth. The Pacers play the Pelicans on Wednesday, while the third-place Cavs battle the Raptors and the sixth-place Sixers see the Grizzlies.


Tough place to play

The Wizards head to Texas hoping to win in San Antonio for the first time since 1999. Yes, you read that right: 1999. Like, back when Limp Bizkit was a thing. It has been 19 years and 17 straight losses at the Spurs for the Wizards.

Washington has had trouble with the Spurs in general in the past two decades, as have most teams. The Spurs have won 20 of their last 23 matchups overall and won 17 straight from 2006 through 2015. The Spurs under head coach Gregg Popovich have been among the most consistent winners in all of sports and the Wizards have had trouble cracking the code.


Spurs are still getting it done

The Spurs are currently sixth in the Western Conference despite having a slightly better record than the Wizards. They have gotten this far despite their best player Kawhi Leonard missing all but nine games this season. It is a remarkable feat and one that could very well win Popovich another Coach of the Year award.

In Leonard's absence, many have stepped up. LaMarcus Aldridge has put in an All-Star season with averages of 22.7 points, 8.4 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game. Rudy Gay has enjoyed a nice bounceback season with 11.2 points and 5.0 rebounds per game. And Pau Gasol is still making an impact with 10.4 points and 8.2 rebounds per game.

Really, though, it's all about their defense. The Spurs boast the lowest opponents points per game average (99.0) and the third-best defensive rating (104.1).


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