On January 28, Bradley Beal struggled in a home game against the Sacramento Kings. He played 24 minutes and went 2-for-6 from the field. His sprained wrist was bothering him, a lot. After that night, Beal missed the next five games while recovering from injury.
Jordan Crawford was given a chance to step up against Sacramento, and in the subsequent thee-game road trip: Philadelphia, Memphis and San Antonio. Instead, the Wizards lost all four games (in which Garrett Temple started at the 2, not Jordan Crawford). During the losing streak, Crawford played 73 total minutes, went 8-for-27 from the field, 2-for-9 from beyond the arc, and 3-for-3 from the charity stripe. He scored 21 total points, dished out four assists, and committed seven turnovers.
Now, Jordan Crawford is a Washington Wizards outcast. How did it happen so fast?
Crawford played extremely limited minutes in the two games after the Wizards returned to D.C. from San Antonio—five minutes in a win over the Clippers and six minutes in a win over the Knicks. He didn’t play at all in a February 8 home win over Brooklyn nor in a subsequent road win in Milwaukee. He couldn’t even get off the bench during a pitiful pre-All-Star break loss in Detroit, when the Wizards desperately needed scoring. And Crawford certainly didn’t play in the first game post-break, a pitiful loss against the Raptors at home. Didn’t act like he wanted to play.
Four straight DNP-CDs for the Wizards’ one-time leading scorer (and current third-leading scorer with a 13.2 points per game average)…
What changed between player and coach, Wittman and Stelo? Sure, Crawford has the ability to score or create, but he’s also a gunner who’s most effective with the ball in his hands. Well, the Wizards would rather have the ball in the hands of John Wall or Bradley Beal for that purpose, understandably. Sure, Crawford is undersized on defense and under that condition he can’t afford to slack off, yet he does. What smallish scoring guard doesn’t?
Did not starting when Bradley Beal went out put Crawford in a bad place? Why didn’t Randy Wittman start him over D-Leaguer Garrett Temple anyway? To teach him a lesson? To get Crawford used to a future role coming off the bench? It’s a coach’s prerogative… We may never know.
Maybe the coach wanted to see how the player would respond.
“That’s the main thing I always want to see in situations like that, ‘Are you going to dive in and work your way out of it, continue to work hard so when it’s time to come back on the floor, you’re ready?’ And that, as a coach, is what you’re looking for.” —R. Wittman
Crawford didn’t respond well by shooting 29.6 percent with a 0.57 assist-to-turnover ratio over those four losses. And in those chances of limited minutes against the Clippers and Knicks? Let’s just see how Crawford responded. Let’s see what could be his last five shots as a Wizard…
For those keeping track at home, a crib sheet of what happens in the video below:
- 2nd Quarter v. Clippers – Crawford assumes he is going to get a call with minimal little contact off the dribble from Matt Barnes, so he just throws up an off-balanced shot from wherever. He doesn’t get the call (if there even should have been one), and the shot bricks.
- 2nd Quarter v. Clippers – John Wall pushes the ball on the break and finds Crawford in the corner for a composed, wide open, spot-up 3-pointer. Swish… Nice basketball.
- 2nd Quarter v. Clippers – Evidently in a pissing contest with Barnes, Crawford dribbles around a bunch – right near the Wizards’ bench, right near his coach — and steps back and fires a long 3 with 16 seconds on the shot clock. Wittman immediately subs him out of the game.
- 2nd Quarter v. Knicks – He dribbles around a pick and gets to the free throw line for a shot attempt, but that’s all he has his eyes on … the whole motion is too casual, and Tyson Chandler is right there in Crawford’s face to contest the shot. Brick.
- 2nd Quarter v. Knicks – Crawford gets the ball with 12 seconds on the shot clock, stops the entire offense to think about shooting for about four seconds, and then finally takes a couple dribbles and fires a 3-pointer with six seconds on the shot clock. Brick City.
Amends are unlikely at this point. Crawford has had chances to act like a professional, but he’s blown them, especially with the way he acted during the Toronto game. Still, team management, the coaching staff, must assume some blame.
A trade will probably soon happen (if it hasn’t already happened — to Dallas? to Boston?). Crawford won’t be around anymore. And yet another polarizing, natural source of manufactured pixels, sometimes good basketball player will go down in Wizards history.
All hail the Internets. Pour out a little steez for the kid from Detroit.