Over the next few weeks, we will be evaluating the 2010/11 seasons of all the players who ended the year on the Wizards' roster. We'll offer our quick thoughts, then ask you to grade their season on a 1-10 scale in the comments. For the purposes of this exercise, we'll start with the key players and work our way down. Next in line: Jordan Crawford.
#15 / Guard / Washington Wizards
Oct 23, 1988
Years in NBA: 1
Contract Status: Rookie deal through 2015 ($1.1M in 2012, $1.2M in 2013, $2.2M in 2014, $3.2M QO in 2015
|2010 - Jordan Crawford||42||24.4||4.6||11.9||38.4||0.8||3.0||25.8||1.7||2.0||86.9||0.7||1.8||2.5||2.8||2.0||0.9||0.1||1.5||11.7|
Jordan Crawford passed the honeymoon period in his new home with flying colors. In his 26 games with the Wizards after the trade from Atlanta, Crawford demonstrated that he's capable of being an NBA-quality player. He scored in double figures for 17 straight games, which is a pretty neat feat for a rookie. He also dropped 39 on Miami (a non-Blake Griffin rookie high) and had over 20 points in 10 of those 17 games. Clearly, Crawford took advantage of the opportunity afforded to him.
And yes, it was a major opportunity. Crawford didn't hide his feelings about being buried on the bench in Atlanta. I remember talking to Crawford right after he got his first real playing time against Dallas, and I remember him telling me very strongly how he felt he didn't develop at all in Atlanta. I remember him telling me how, throughout his career, he only really made strides in a "five on five" situation. So when he finally got the chance to play, he attacked it with a level of enthusiasm that you don't see from enough players in this league. This is the quality of Crawford that Ernie Grunfeld and the rest of the Wizards' management has loved about him even dating back to last June's draft. It's commonly misconstrued as "fight," but really, it's that he never needs second chances to show his skills. He's going to show you what he can do no matter what.
Alas, the concern I have is that Crawford won't be afforded this opportunity again. Few players ever will. How many rookies selected with the 27th pick overall and with Crawford's ability/propensity (depending on how you look at it) to hoist shots will get 36 minutes a game, which is what he got in March and April? How many players with Crawford's kind of game ever have the leeway to get his minutes and fire away? How many teams have so little offensive talent that a Crawford forced shot is better than giving it to someone else? The answer is none, and that includes next year's Wizards, who will have a return to health, a lottery pick to work in and developing frontcourt players who will need more shots.
This is Crawford's challenge, and it's a big one. Strip away the gaudy per-game numbers, and Crawford was still a tremendously inefficient scorer that used a lot of possessions. He got more leeway to do so because of the team surrounding him. Going forward, he will not be afforded the same leeway in the same number of minutes, so he must adjust, significantly. He needs to take better shots. He needs to take shots in different, more efficient locations. He needs to take shots off plays created by others. If he cannot do that, his scoring skill loses its utility. Guys like Crawford are not good enough to just be afforded the opportunity to play their game. They have to adjust to the team around them, and only then can the coach potentially meet him halfway.
The good news is that Crawford's contract is cheap and there is time for him to develop. John Wall seems to have taken to him, and that can only be good news for Crawford's future. But for Crawford to advance past the honeymoon stage, he needs to apply his determined attitude toward fitting into a defined, limited role with this team. He now should know that he is capable of playing in this league, and I can live with him doing what he did this year because he needed to prove that to himself. Now, he needs to show that he can actually be a valuable cog in a machine.
A LIMERICK ABOUT JORDAN CRAWFORD'S SEASON, BY JAKE WHITACRE
A folk hero due to his dunk
He scored a significant chunk
Gave Wiz a perk
Passing needs work
Made Watson look like a punk
FAVORITE JORDAN CRAWFORD QUOTE, BY MIKE PRADA
"It's just like, you're a man at the end of the day. You don't want to just go out there and lose. It ain't what nobody is about, and it ain't what I'm about." -Crawford on the thought of tanking
If you had to pick one player in the entire league for Crawford to study to improve his game, who would it be?
Rate Crawford's season on a scale of 1-10, given the expectations you feel he should have been given heading into the season.