Antawn Jamison is not Vince Carter. His biggest flaw and ultimate demise with the Golden State Warriors was that he was not Vince Carter. Because of this, he represented a time of great frustration in Warriors basketball where poor management took the annual promise of hope and squandered it into consistent mediocrity.
Jamison came to the Warriors in the talented 1998 NBA draft. He was the College Player of the Year out of North Carolina. The Warriors who were picking 5th that year made an arrangement with the Toronto Raptors sitting at on the fourth pick to swap picks. The fourth pick was Jamison and the fifth pick was Carter, Jamison’s teammate at North Carolina.
We all know how this played out. Jamison went on to become a solid player, even a very good one. Carter went on to become an All-Star and even a Superstar for a few years. More than the incredible numbers Carter put up, he was perhaps the best highlight reel player in NBA history. The fans in Toronto were treated to amazing dunks and shot on a nightly basis. What the Warriors traded away was highlighted by the 2000 All-Star game where Carter put on arguably the best Dunk Contest display in the contest’s history (I would say Jason Richardson but I am very much in the minority).
Jamison was not a complete flop for the Warriors. He was a very solid player but not the superstar centerpiece the franchise needed to replace since losing “Run TMC” and Chris Webber. The franchise needed a centerpiece and what they had was a very capable sidekick. This was the Warrior’s franchise in the early 2000s, not quite good enough to be competitive.
While Jamison was cleared out so the team can focus on Mike Dunleavy (a horrible #3 pick and a horrible player to thrust forward as the face of the franchise). Jamison’s greatest contribution was being traded for contracts that the Warriors swapped to obtain Baron Davis. Closing the Jamison era led to the short but incredibly sweet “We Believe” era.