Veteran Antawn Jamison is a polarizing figure in Cleveland right now. The 35-year-old forward remains in the starting lineup, as well he should.
Fans, though, will eventually clamor for more playing time for his backup, Tristan Thompson, who is probably not ready for prime-time action.
Through five games, it's worked out perfectly. Jamison is averaging about 30 minutes, while the rookie plays about 19.
The 6-foot-9, 227-pound Thompson couldn't have a better mentor from whom to learn. Jamison has taken him under his wing and realizes his enormous potential.
"He's an exceptional player," Jamison said. "The thing I like about him is the energy he brings on both ends of the floor. He learns. If you tell him something once, he picks it up quickly. He wants to get better. He wants to be a great player. That's a sign of success."
Offensively, he's very raw. He doesn't possess a trusty jump shot and his moves and footwork need seasoning. But he's very active around the basket.
The No. 4 overall pick in the 2011 draft had 16 points and nine rebounds, both career highs, in the Cavs' 115-101 win over Charlotte on Tuesday. He also blocked two shots, including a dunk attempt by Bobcats center Byron Mullens.
"Let me tell you, four or five years from now, I wouldn't want to deal with him on a night-in, night-out basis," Jamison said. "It's one of those situations where I'll say, 'I remember him as a rookie.' He'll be playing in All-Star games and things of that nature.
"I'm a big fan of his. I think he'll be a household name."
The 6-9, 235-pound Jamison has reached double-figures in scoring in all five games this season. He hopes to keep a hot hand in Toronto on Wednesday at Air Canada Centre.
"This year it's going to take a while to find that rhythm," Jamison said. "I have to get accustomed to new guys. The best way to get out of a shooting slump is to stay positive and try not to force anything."
He said there's no question in his mind he can still get the job done on the court.
"The only way I'm not going to be able to get it done is if I can't get up and down that court," Jamison said. "I know where to get to my sweet spot on the court and get up productive shots. I feel great. I still have another year before I'll start declining and coming off the bench."
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