Jordan Crawford heads back to Atlanta to play against the team that drafted him, while Chris Singleton returns home. He is from Canton, Georgia and played his senior season of high school at Dunwoody, right outside of Atlanta. As the Wizards prepare for game two on the season against the Hawks tonight, their first road game, we have three questions and three answers surrounding the two teams. TAI’s Rashad Mobley, Kyle Weidie, and Bret LaGree from the ESPN TrueHoop Hawks blog, Hoopinion… 3-on-3 is now…
1) Rashad Mobley: The Hawks lack a significant scoring threat off the bench, and Wizards are lacking a veteran presence in the back court to mentor/guide/spell John Wall. Jordan Crawford could be that bench threat for the Hawks, and Kirk Hinrich (when healthy) could play that role again for the Wizards. The draft pick part of the trade that brought Chris Singleton to D.C. notwithstanding, would Crawford and Hinrich be more effective on their old teams?
MOBLEY: Crawford is still trying to figure out how his skill-set fits in the NBA, so I don’t know if that clarity would have come in Atlanta. But I do know that on opening night, Wall struggled to lead the Wizards on offense, and Hinrich could have steadied the team a bit.
LaGREE, Hoopinion: I think Hinrich’s perimeter defense will give the Hawks more value this year than Crawford’s ability to create a huge number of low-efficiency shots. Any of Atlanta’s five starters should be able to lead/carry the second unit for short stretches, though it remains to be seen how creative Larry Drew will get with the rotation to hide the lack of bench scoring.
WEIDIE: One part of Crawford provided Nick Young leverage this past summer (or a backup plan, depending on how you look at it). Hinrich did have shoulder surgery in the offseason that was suddenly revealed at the beginning of December (he will likely miss the first month of the season), but there’s no doubt that, if healthy, he would help the Wizards more — why do you think Atlanta paid so much for him in the trade? But the move was obviously made for reasons beyond individual usage, and the Wizards had time to afford an up-close glimpse at Crawford’s potential.
2) Bret LaGree: Hawks fans generally agreed that Jordan Crawford was talented but whether or not he could use his talents within the structure of a good basketball team proved divisive. Can he be a starter on a playoff team or is he destined for a life putting up shots on bad teams?
MOBLEY: I’m not quite ready to give up on Crawford as a starter in Washington. As Wall improves as a point guard, Crawford will get easier shots and better looks. That being said, he would be great in Boston or L.A. as a lead scorer on the unit coming off the bench.
LaGREE, Hoopinion: Trying to do too much is a better weakness than not being able to do anything at all. I concede that it’s not obvious which position Crawford will ever be able to defend effectively, but if he can continue to be aggressive in expressing his offensive skills while learning to make good decisions with the ball in his hands he could develop into a quality starter, if not necessarily a good all-around player.
WEIDIE: The fact that, more than not, Crawford acts like he cares about defense shows he wants to be a starter… But on a really good playoff team, he’s likely the type of player who needs to get used to coming off the bench. Think future Jason Terry.
3) Kyle Weidie: It’s fiscally understandable that Atlanta had to let Jamal Crawford go. People might also agree that Tracy McGrady was a decent, low risk signing. But Willie Green, Jannero Pargo and Jerry Stackhouse….? Really? Why not kick Gilbert Arenas’ tires?
MOBLEY: Willie Green is the blue collar guy every team needs, so I get that. But Stackhouse is 56 years old and so are McGrady’s knees. By the time the playoffs begin, and Larry Drew shortens his rotation, all these guys (except for Green) will be on the bench doing their best Mateen Cleaves impression.
LaGREE, Hoopinion: Neither Larry Drew nor any of the veteran Hawks are noted for their strong personalities so Arenas would be a bad fit on- and off-the-court for the Hawks. Which isn’t to defend several of the signings the team made. It’s hard to look bad in a 36-point road victory, but Pargo, Green, and Stackhouse all accomplished that last night in New Jersey. At least, among those three, only Green’s contract is fully guaranteed. Heal fast, Kirk Hinrich.
WEIDIE: Kick Gilbert Arenas’ tires and some toxic rubber fumes might start coming through the locker room vents. No, but really… Arenas has been quiet as of late and is likely working out, staying ready. Although, I’m not sure what going through with marriage to Laura Govan is going to do for him (aside from making her one of the only legitimate “Basketball Wives”). Maybe Arenas really will go wherever Dwight Howard goes/gets trade (he can’t go back to the Magic until next season after being amnestied by them). Otherwise, Atlanta could certainly do worse than that motley fill-in crew… at least the blogs are talking about them.