Antawn Jamison to Los Angeles Lakers Would Increase the Need for Dwight Howard

Charlotte Observer beat writer Rick Bonnell is reporting that the Lakers will sign Antawn Jamison.

At first glance, this looks like a good move for the Lakers. They need spacing, and Jamison can shoot the three while playing the 4. He should be L.A.'s poor man's Lamar Odom. Or, with the way Odom's been downward spiraling, Jamison can be L.A.'s rich man's Lamar Odom. 

There's one small catch, though: Antawn Jamison is a horrendous defender. Truly terrible. I don't wish to impugn his character or to insinuate that he loafs. Some guys are as professional as they come, but they simply can't react with the split-second assuredness it takes to guard the opposition. 

His negative impact on the defensive end is remarkably consistent. Per basketball value numbers, with Jamison on the court, the Cavs were 9.09 points worse on defense in 2011-2012, 5.37 points worse in 2010-2011 and 3.90 points worse in 2009-2010.

This tends to be a noisy statistic, but there is enough of a track record here to doubt that Tawn' can be anything but a vacuum in the defensively crucial role of power forward. 

The Cavs learned this the hard way back when Jamison was supposed to be the finishing touch on a championship squad. For all the attention LeBron's Game 5 Boston meltdown received, few noticed that the Jamison addition merely unsettled a stingy Cleveland defense.

Offensive contributions are nice, but offense is only half the game. It's quite difficult to win a playoff series when your power forward is letting Ray Allen get to the cup, then ceding an easy dunk on the dish.

This is not to say that the Lakers will suffer for having a one-dimensional bench scorer. It just means that the need for Dwight Howard is ever greater.

L.A. has added two main cogs this offseason, and they both have defensive flaws. Steve Nash is at least replacing other bad defensive point guard...

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