- The Washington Times - Monday, January 7, 2008

The All-Star question of Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison is impertinent.

It should not be a question in either case, as the two forwards demonstrated yet again in Tony Cheng’s neighborhood yesterday.

Butler filled the stat sheet in his typically convincing fashion, and Jamison registered his 21st double-double of the season as the Wizards defeated the Maryland-led Sonics 108-86.

Eddie Jordan, the maestro who has kept the team afloat amid a glut of injuries, connects the relevancy of the Wizards to Butler and Jamison.

“They have carried us to a winning record,” Jordan said. “Their numbers speak for themselves. What people don’t see is their leadership in the locker room.”

Jamison was exercising his leadership role in front of his dressing stall, talking of the changes ahead that possibly will expedite the maturity of Andray Blatche, Nick Young and Dominic McGuire.

“Right now, as a group, our young guys have too many distractions,” Jamison said. “We need our bench. We can ill afford to let this continue.”

Jamison recalled the example John Starks set after he broke into the NBA with Golden State in the 1998-99 season.

Starks would show up to the arena five hours before the opening tip to lift weights and practice his shooting.

That sense of professionalism has been found wanting in the two rookies and Blatche, the Chipotle Burrito Dash leader.

Their inconsistencies have contributed to Jordan’s annoyance after he resorts to what is becoming the prevent-victory bench in the second quarter.

“Sometimes our young fellows don’t understand what it takes to be successful in this league,” Jamison said. “Caron and I, we’re going to be mentoring them.”

Butler pointed to Young’s stall across the locker room and announced that it would be moved to his vicinity, all the better to bend the rookie’s ear and show the way.

“Our bench can give us a lot,” Butler said. “But they have to mature.”

The ones in need of maturing have to work the same number of hours as Butler and Jamison, whether on the practice court or in the weight room.

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