Jordan F-ing Crawford.
What IS his deal?
Playing 27.1 minutes per game this season and averaging 17.9 field goals per 36 minutes while shooting an effective-FG percentage of 0.450 doesn’t exactly put Jordan in good company, historically.
According to the Basketball-Reference.com database, 12 such NBA players since the 1991-92 season have averaged 25 to 30 minutes per game, attempted at least 15 field goals per 36 minutes, and have had an eFG% less than 0.455. Those players, ranked by Win Shares Per 48 Minutes:
- Isaiah Rider – 0.86 – 1988-99 Portland Trailblazers (13.7 PER)
- Malik Sealy – 0.62 – 1994-95 LA Clippers (14.7)
- Jamal Crawford – 0.59 – 2011-12 Portland Trailblazers (14.7)
- Michael Redd – 0.59 – 2009-10 Milwaukee Bucks (12.1)
- Josh Howard – 0.54 – 2009-10 Dallas/Washington (12.7)
- Larry Hughes – 0.36 – 1999-00 (14.7)
- Jordan Crawford – 0.25 – 2011-12 Philadelphia/Golden State (14.9)
- Jerry Reynolds – 0.25 – 1991-92 Orlando Magic (13.9)
- Bonzi Wells – 0.23 – 2003-04 Portland/Memphis (13.0)
- Kemba Walker – 0.17 - 2011-12 Charlotte Bobcats (15.3)
- Dejuan Wagner – 0.11 – 2002-03 Cleveland Cavaliers (10.9)
- Vernon Maxwell – negative-0.001 – 1996-97 San Antonio Spurs (11.8)
Most fans, coaches, GMs and owners would shudder if forced to rely on any of these guys on their team– a group of players who managed to stick around in the league for various periods of time nonetheless.
OK, so Jordan Crawford is an NBA sophomore who has been thrust into the starting lineup on a very, very bad team; oh, and Jordan’s “promotion” has been contingent on the presence of Nick Young. How has he fared in those situations, starting versus not? Well, there’s not much difference.
Crawford has played 24 games and 744 minutes as a starter this season, 32 games and 772 minutes coming off the bench.
Plus/Minus Per 48 Minutes (Pace Adjusted)
Starting – minus-7.4
Bench – minus-10.6
Points Per 36 Minutes
Starting – 21.1
Bench – 20.7
Effective Field Goal Percentage
Starting – 45.3%
Bench – 44.6%
Assists Per 36 Minutes
Starting – 3.8
Bench – 4.8
Percent of Assisted Field Goals Made
Starting – 33.8%
Bench – 44.4%
Percentage of Field Goal Attempts That Are 3-Pointers
Starting – 34.5%
Bench – 29.8%
So we gather that Crawford passes less as a starter (no surprise) and shoots more 3-pointers, but otherwise, he makes pretty the same contributions on offense. Although, Crawford seems to jack more shotsas a starter without benefiting from teammate assists, which likely has a negative effect on the team offense overall.
Maybe it’s more about putting Crawford in an environment where he will care more. When Wizards games are close, Crawford shoots better; when the games get out of hand, he becomes less conscious. What’s holding him and the team back is consistency.
When the game is tied, Crawford’s eFG% is 51.3-percent; when the margin is 1-5 points, 46.0-percent; when 6-10 points, 49.0-percent.
But when the margin is 11-15 points, Crawford’s eFG% drops to 40.6-percent; when 16-20 points, even further to 35.0-percent. Crawford starts shooting better again when games are out of hand, contributing an eFG% of 50.0-percent when the margin is more than 20 points.
Closely observing Crawford’s 3-for-12 shooting performance against the New Jersey Nets last Friday, the issue is not so much when he jacks a 3-point attempt seemingly with the effort, moxie, gusto, and reckless abandon that makes it appear that Jordan thinks the bucket will count as five points instead of three.
No, issues with Crawford’s offense arise from his naive understanding of what it really takes to score in the NBA. He’ll have the good intention of driving to the basket — which is much different from when Nick Young used to do the same thing; Crawford is a better and much more willing passer — but when the defense covers passing options and gives Crawford room, he’ll over-penetrate into the lane and end up taking a tough runner in the center’s face, instead of stopping to knock down the close-range shot with two feet of space.
The same offensive mechanics which allow Crawford to make amazing shots, for a guy his size, with a high-degree of difficulty, are the same mechanics he over-relies on when he presumes himself to be in a tough scoring position. It’s not always about contorting to avoid the defense, sometimes it is about establishing balance and protection to make the defense work for you, via trips to the foul line.
When Crawford receives the ball in an offensive set and pauses to assess the situation, as he often does, he makes it worse. Sure, there are times when a scorer needs to take a moment to read what the defense is giving him, but more than not, Crawford is simply wasting time and the attention span of his teammates with his prolonged assessment and mostly unnecessary dribbles. Read, react and GO!
Ultimately, Crawford might be just as well coming off the bench for the Wizards in the future — he has the confidence to be an offensive spark no matter the situation, given better development in his decision-making. Another issue is that Crawford currently has next to nothing in terms of competition at his position on the team. Landing the first over 2012 NBA Draft pick and Anthony Davis would be a huge boon for the Washington franchise, but the priority for this offseason, aside from lottery luck, should be to land a wing guard/forward scorer who can pair well with John Wall and the rest of the Wizards while likely, and hopefully, putting Crawford in his right place of bit contributor. If it doesn’t work after that, move on.
But what do you think?
[NOTE: stats according to NBA.com/Stats and Basketball-Reference.com]