Remember when Jordan Crawford said, “I feel like I can be better than Michael Jordan.”? Well, that didn’t happen this year.
He’s everybody’s (least) favorite gunner. He’s Jordan Crawford. And here are James Straton, Ben Mehic, and Christopher Cook with the Jordan Crawford “Player Profile”.
If you follow the Wizards, you knew something was going to be peculiar about the team, and specifically, about Jordan Crawford. On a team constructed with no legitimate scoring threats, the shots had to come from somewhere. You bet your behind that those shots were going to come from Crawford. And they did. They had to.
Jordan Crawford’s 2012 campaign was historic and it all started with an innocent desire for greatness when Crawford explained his bio on twitter, which says he is “On A Mission to become the GREATEST!!!!!!” Crawford told inquisitive reporters, “I don’t tell nobody, but I feel like I can be better than Michael Jordan.” Some wondered if he was referring to the Wizards’ version of MJ, which many NBA fans pretend never happened. Does Crawford want to pretend this season never happened? Maybe.
In order to be better than MJ, you have to start breaking records, winning titles, and putting your name amongst the greats. Crawford certainly did some of that, but not in the way that would make him the best. In February, while John Wall was seemingly hitting his stride as a pro, Crawford was only hitting rims. He was on pace to have one of the worst shooting seasons in NBA history. In 2012, Crawford became the first player since 1972, and the only player since the advent of the three-pointer, to shoot the ball over 13 times a game in less than 28 minutes, and hit less than 40.5%. On the bright side, the list of players to also accomplish this feat includes all-timers such as Bob Cousy and Dolph Schayes. Crawford was just putting his name amongst the greats. He was chasing MJ. This is step one. Only Crawford knows what step two is.
Of course, a lot of Crawford’s weak shooting can be attributed to the fact that the Wizards’ offense often broke down, forcing him to chuck up a Kobe-esque attempt. This season was a strong learning experience for every Wizard, but I worry that Crawford’s shooting habits will not dissipate when more capable players come along. If Crawford’s desire is to be MJ, he likely won’t take a minimized role well. Unfortunately, for this team to be successful, he will have to.
I’ve yet to mention Crawford’s best asset, his lack of self-awareness. There is value in a guy who can get white hot off the bench and thinks he is going to make every shot he takes. Blissful ignorance is in high demand. There is a reason the Clippers saw value in Nick Young. Young thinks he’s a lot better than he really is, and that makes the possibility of three straight three-pointers to start a gargantuan comeback in the playoffs a possibility. In the playoffs, Young has logged minute totals of 24, 24, 18, 18, 12, and 16. Vinny Del Negro knows very quickly whether or not Nick Young is going to be good Nick Young or bad Nick Young. That is how the Wizards want to treat Crawford, especially since second team playmaking is (hopefully) taken care of by Shelvin Mack.
It’s hard not to consider this season a disappointment for Crawford. For every game he shot over 50%, there were five more in which he shot under. You can’t brand a 39.4% career shooter as a hibachi-lite, off the bench menace when he showed little improvement from year to year. Due to Crawford’s favorable rookie contract, it is certain he will have at least another year to prove whether or not he can be the force off the bench an NBA team could use. Based upon his first two seasons, he’s not yet that type of guy.
While finishing the 210-2011 NBA season, Jordan Crawford appeared to show flashes of his subtle brilliance. During his rookie campaign, Crawford scored a career high 39 points against Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat. In the following game, Crawford had his first career triple-double against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Crawford’s second year in the league wasn’t been great, but definitely could have been better. Washington lacks players that can create their own shot, and as of right now, Crawford is virtually the only player on the team that can do just that. His shot selection at the beginning of the season was absolutely atrocious. Dribbling until the shot clock expired while finally shooting the basketball from way beyond his range was a common occurrence for Crawford. As time went on, Crawford appeared to improve his shot selection. Attacking the basket and not settling for jump shots was the key for him. Crawford went on to score 20 points in seven consecutive games, which is something no Wizard had accomplished since Antawan Jamison.
If Crawford continues to improve playing within the offense, he can become a true piece to Washington’s puzzle. Even though Crawford has gained some notoriety for his scoring ability, he does possess the talent to make the occasional flashy pass too, and he is a lot more versatile than given credit for.
But is Crawford a starting shooting guard, or is he just another spark off the bench? Those are questions Crawford needs to address with his play on the court next season. Cutting his high volume of ill-advised shots can help him answer some of the questions.
And if the Wizards do indeed intend on drafting Bradley Beal in next month’s draft of Florida, Crawford is in serious danger of losing his starting role. I liked the way Crawford finished out the season by showing some his versatility and more of that is needed for next season.
Jordan Crawford is a bit of an enigma for me. There are times when I love him as he drills three-pointer after three-pointer and is throwing flashy passes. Then there are times when I scratch my head at some of the decisions he makes. As I noted in my post about the Wizards’ season in numbers, Jordan Crawford was the only player to attempt over 800 field goals while playing less than 28 minutes per game. Depending on how you look at it, you could say that Crawford’s shooting percentage makes him one of the worst jump-shooters in the league. Crawford takes too many shots that don’t come in the flow of the offense and if he makes two shots in a row, everyone in the building knows he is going to shoot on the next trip down the court. All that being said, Crawford’s 40% from the field this year is better than the 38% he shot last year. His three-point percentage increased by three-percent as well.
However, when Crawford isn’t scoring there isn’t a whole lot else that he contributes. He runs the floor okay and he gives a good effort every night, but I don’t think he can be a starter on a playoff team if the Wizards get to that point. I’d like to see him come off the bench next year and play with the same fire that he did this year, and give the Wizards’ second unit the scoring they need. Of course, if the Wizards can’t find a more consistent player to start at shooting guard, we’ll likely see Crawford as a starter again.
My grade for Crawford in 2011-2012: C
He didn’t make the progress that I expected this year and still take a lot of bad shots. He needs to be more selfless on the court so the Wizards can grow as a team. If he figures that out, he will be a key component to the Wizards’ rebuilding plan.