Jordan Crawford's Bad Season, By The Numbers

When we last talked extensively about Jordan Crawford, it was in the summer, and it was in this matter.

Crawford is capable of scoring in bunches. He can shoot open shots. He can handle the ball and make plays. He can fight on defense. He can exhibit a sort of fearlessness that wakes up the whole team. But at this point, does he do any of those things especially well within a team setting? Will he ever specialize enough to do any of those things at an elite level? At this point, the jury is still out.

More generally, the obvious critique was this: sure, he has skills, but can he play off others, or can he only succeed when he's given free reign to dribble around and shoot? One third of a way through his second season, and it doesn't look good.

Wiz of Awes, a fledging Wizards site like ours, did a fine post today pointing out just how absurd it is that Crawford takes so many bad shots. Here are some sobering numbers to keep things in perspective.

Since the advent of the three-point line, only 21 other players have shot the ball over 11 times a game while playing less than 23 minutes a game. Basically, Jordan Crawford is a chucking machine. Only 22 players since then have shot that often in that little amount of time (chart below). Crawford is having the worst success of all of them.

The only player period to shoot as frequently and as poorly in as few minutes in NBA history is the immortal Woody Sauldsberry in 1961. So yeah, it's bad.

Strangely enough, due to the Wizards' lack of offensive options, Crawford doesn't kill them offensively. (That's not to defend Crawford's ways, of course). Defensively, though, is a mess, if his plus/minus numbers are any indication (via Basketball Value).

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In layman's terms:

  • The Wizards' defensive efficiency when Crawford is in the game is 111.57. Their defensive efficiency when Crawford is out of the game is 100.45. That's a difference of 11.2 points per 100 possessions. That's a lot.
  • Though Crawford isn't a net negative offensively, the Wizards are only 3.21 points/100 possessions better with him on the court.
  • Therefore, the Wizards are overall about eight points worse/100 possessions with Crawford on the court this season.
Now, granted, it's early, and plus/minus numbers are noisy. To Crawford's credit, he's upped his total number of assisted field goals offensively to 44 percent, way higher than the 25 percent he was at last year. But what's become clear is that Crawford, like many of the other players on the roster, has not been able to build on his rookie season.

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