Jordan Crawford came to the Wizards during his rookie year and his play has fueled a basketball nature versus nurture debate. Is Jordan Crawford an unabashed gunner, never to be reformed? Or has the Wizards' lack of direction and talent created an offensive player who just needs some guidance?
The 2012-13 season may settle that debate. With Bradley Beal in town, there should be no confusion about Crawford's role as a bench scorer; he doesn't have to worry about running the offense and scoring at the same time. While his shot selection can leave a lot to be desired, the bigger worry should be Crawford's performance when he gets good shots. Crawford has been a below average finisher at the rim in each of his two years in the league. He's also been pretty bad on spot-up threes, shooting 33 and 25 percent in his two seasons with the Wizards. Those are supposed to be the easy shots that boost your percentages.
POSITIVES TO BUILD ON: Crawford was among the best in the NBA at shooting from the left elbow and left wing, which is a good thing for a player who really covets the midrange jumper. Also, despite his love for shooting, Crawford could be a very creative passer in the pick-and-roll when he put his mind to it.
AREAS TO IMPROVE: Of course his shot selection needs to improve, but his shot-making needs to get a lot better, too. Crawford takes plenty of threes from beyond 25 feet, but so do a lot of players. Crawford is among a select few that attempted at least 100 of these shots and made under 30 percent of them. What happened to the player that shot 39 percent from three at Xavier? There's no reason Crawford should be hitting less than 30 percent of his threes in the NBA. There are other parts of his game to improve, such as defense, but making shots is at the top of the list.
PROJECTED SPOT IN ROTATION: Crawford appears to be the frontrunner for the designated bench scorer role. If the coaching staff starts off slowly with Bradley Beal, Crawford could be the a starter again, but that shouldn't be the case for long. Crawford has superior shot-creation abilities to his fellow bench-mates, so his role should be secure, even if he struggles hitting his shots.
OUTLOOK: The Wizards tried to add more talent to help John Wall, but Jordan Crawford remains one of the few perimeter players who can operate with the ball in their hands. The Wizards need Crawford to produce in order to make a push for the playoffs. Crawford is on his rookie contract, so the Wizards will probably pick up his option next year, seeing as how it is pretty cheap. But there should still be some pressure on Crawford this year, as another season of atrocious shooting could make getting a second NBA contract much harder.
What are your projected statistics for Crawford this season? What are your general expectations for him?