Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Has Crawford Made His Point At The Point?

With superstar point guard Rajon Rondo, out for the foreseeable future, the Celtics have had to resort to unorthodox players to run the point. With Phil Pressey, the rookie out of Missouri being the only true point guard on the roster, the Celtics have called on the notorious ball hog, Jordan Crawford, to put the team needs over his own stat-line.
Jordan Crawford has spent the majority of his career as a pure scorer off the bench in Atlanta for the Hawks, in Washington for the Wizards, or in Boston for the historically renowned Celtics. (I use the term scorer loosely). Jordan Crawford reminded me a lot of New York’s JR Smith, he would shoot with reckless abandonment.  During his first four years in the league, Crawford never shot above 42% from the field.  This year, the Celtics have asked Crawford to reinvent himself  to fit the role of a point guard and he has slid into the role with relative ease, which is something most Boston fans didn’t expect.

Throughout this season, the Celtics have been starting Avery Bradley at point guard and bringing Crawford off the bench. Whenever Crawford came off the bench, Bradley would slide into the role of shooting guard, while Crawford would take over at point. Crawford has acted as sixth man for the Celtics and has played significant minutes off the bench, at 24.3 minutes per game. In this time, Crawford has averaged 11.3 points per game, 4.3 assists per game, 2.5 rebounds per game, and 1 steal per game. You may not be too impressed with these stats but they do not tell the whole story.  In the game against the Orlando Magic, Crawford easily had his best game of the season.  He had 16 points, 10 assists, 5 rebounds, and 1 steal. With this huge effort, I predict Brad Stevens will slide Avery Bradley over to the two, and insert Crawford in at the one just as he did in the game against the Magic. The projected starting lineup of that game would be:

Jordan Crawford

Avery Bradley

Jeff Green
Brandon Bass

Kelly Olynyk

A major question mark upon Rajon Rondo’s return is: Will Jordan Crawford continue to man the one?
When Rondo returns, Crawford will still continue to run the point, but he will play it sparingly and most likely, off the bench. With Jordan Crawford manning the point, the Celtics have a weaker shooting guard rotation of:

Avery Bradley
MarShon Brooks
Keith Bogans

Crawford will still need to be a scorer off the bench and help solidify the two guard rotation.  For that reason, I believe Crawford will switch back to his natural position upon Rondo’s return, but Jordan will potentially be asked to man the one off the bench if Phil Pressey’s development does not go to plan.  If Pressey develops into the point guard Boston drafted, then expect Crawford back at the two.

After the game against the Charlotte Bobcats, in which the Celtics couldn't execute down the stretch, Jordan Crawford got significant minutes. Although the Celtics couldn't slow down Al Jefferson, that had nothing to do with Crawford, who had another solid performance with 16 points and 6 assists. Just as predicted, JC did start AND finish the game. Once again, Jordan showed good contribution on offense with his aggressiveness and facilitation of the ball in the half-court offense.
The final score of the Boston vs Charlotte game was 89-83.