These are not the easiest of times for Clippers veteran Antawn Jamison.
Jamison didn’t play in his first game for the Clippers until Sunday against the Chicago Bulls at Staples Center, but he never complained because that’s not his way of doing things.
Besides, Jamison said, Clippers Coach Doc Rivers told the forward what was expected of him when he signed a one-year deal in the summer.
“He told me that he wanted to rest me up for the second half and going into the playoffs,” Jamison said. “So, mentally, I have that in my mind. I know I have to do other things until we get to that point.”
Jamison played 15 minutes 12 seconds against the Bulls, scoring 11 points on four-for-eight shooting. “There was rust,” he said.
Jamison has worked on his mental and physical approach to the game.
Jamison, a 15-year veteran, has been asked to be a role model for such young players as Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan and Byron Mullens.
Jamison said he also talks to Chris Paul and tells the point guard what he sees while on the bench.
“So I’m trying to do other things to stay involved,” Jamison said. “But I want to be out there. But I respect [Rivers] for being up front and letting me know. If he feels this is the best way for me to help the team, that’s why I’m here. Whatever I’m asked to do, I’m doing it. It’s a little tough now, but I think in the long run it’ll benefit myself and the team.”
Jamison, 37, is a two-time All-Star with career averages of 18.8 points and 7.6 rebounds per game.
“Oh, it’s not easy. Don’t get me wrong,” Jamison said of his role. “My thing is, first and foremost, I want to win. Of course I want to be out there contributing on the court, though.”
Rivers said he wants to play Jamison more, but not in back-to-back games
“He was great,” Rivers said. “He fits that second unit so well.”
The Chicago media asked Rivers, a Chicago native, his feelings on Bulls guard Derrick Rose getting surgery Monday for torn cartilage in his right knee.
“I’m just hoping he’s back healthy this year,” Rivers said. “I think it would be great for [Bulls Coach Tom] Thibodeau, but I think more importantly, it would be great for the Bulls and great for Derrick. He deserves it.”