Editor's Note: Bumped up again. More excellent work here. -Mike
Note: After I got positive reviews on my post about why I haven't given up on Kevin Seraphin, I decided to give player analysis another shot. Enjoy!
Other note: I started this article on the evening of the 15th, before the news came out that Crawford is available.
No one is more polarizing to Wizards fans than Jordan Crawford. To some, he is a valuable shot creator off the bench who has made noticeable improvement every year and has the potential to be one of the best sixth men in the league. To others, he is a selfish ball hog who can never contribute to a good team.
As the statistics show, Crawford has improved individually every year. His true shooting percentage has gone from an atrocious 45.6% as a rookie, to 48.8% as a sophomore and is at 51.2% this year. While still below the 53.4% average for a shooting guard, he's gone from an unbelievably inefficient scorer to a high volume, slightly inefficient one.
His assists have gone from 4.1 per 36 minutes to 5, and his rebounds from 3.7 to 4.3. He's also hitting a good percentage of his spot up's, scoring 1.1 points per possession (PPP) according to MySynergySports, including over 40% from three. As always, he's great isolation scorer, his 0.99 PPP is 12th in Synergy's database. A Jordan Crawford iso is actually an efficient shot.
Nevertheless, the Wizards should look to trade Crawford before his rookie contract is over. While he has some great offensive skills, they haven't translated to actually helping his team. Part of the problem is Crawford's weak defense.
Much has been said about Crawford's defense, so there's no need to repeat it in depth here. What really sticks out is how little effort he seems to put into it. According to the Wizard's charge board, Crawford is last on the team in contest percentage, only contesting 64% of the shots taken against him. Perhaps an extended benching can teach him that effort on defense is necessary to play on the new look Wizards, but even more concerning is the affect he has on the offense.
Despite Crawford's ability to score, it hasn't resulted in team success on that end. Crawford was the only player who could consistently create his own shot for most of the year, yet the Wizards have faired significantly worse offensively when he is in the game. Per 82games.com, 58% of overall field goals that are assisted when Crawford is on the court, compared to 63% when he's off it, indicating a lower level of ball movement when Crawford is on the court.
Even more concerning is the Wizard's points scored per 100 possessions when the team's guards are paired with Crawford, particularly cornerstone's John Wall and Bradley Beal, via the new nba.com/stats.
Both Crawford and Wall need the ball to be effective. When they play together, Crawford does't get to handle the ball enough, while Wall doesn't get he spacing he needs. Beal, meanwhile, needs someone to create looks for him, especially this early in his career, something Crawford is unable to do adequately. As a result, neither player can be as effective when paired with Crawford.
If Crawford can't play with Wall or Beal, who will probably both be playing over 36 minutes in close games going forward, he'll be relegated to exclusively running the second unit. In a best case scenario for him, Crawford will only play 12 or so minutes in close games. Even if Crawford could learn to run the second unit effectively, when his rookie contract is over some team will believe they can make him a great sixth man, offering him more than the Wizards can afford to pay someone who's only playing 10-12 minutes per game.
The Wizards shouldn't rush to trade Crawford at the trade deadline, but they are right to make him available. Their odds of making the playoffs are slim to nil at this point so it won't hurt to showcase him for the rest of the year. However, if they plan to make the playoffs next year, this offseason would be an ideal time to trade him.
Jordan Crawford has some skills that will make him a contributor in the NBA for years to come. However, his poor fit with cornerstones John Wall and Bradley Beal makes him less valuable to the Wizards than other teams, making the right move to trade him before he receives an offer sheet in restricted free agency that the Wizards can't match.