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Monday, 02 September 2013 20:39

What to Expect From Jordan Crawford in 2013-14

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Yesterday we discussed the potential impact that Keith Bogans could have on this young Boston Celtics team. Both Rich and I seemed to agree that Bogans' tenure in Boston will most likely end up being a short one due to the team's ability to let him go at the end of the year. However that doesn't mean he'll be worthless as a member of the Celtics organization. 

Today we continue the What to Expect series by taking a closer look at Jordan Crawford. What does he mean to this team and will he be a valuable commodity or just another guy at the end of their bench? Read on to find out.

Tim MacLean (@TimMacLean_)

The Celtics acquired Jordan Crawford from the Washington Wizards last season in an attempt to add a scorer to the roster following Rajon Rondo’s injury. And although Crawford may not be the most ideal point producer you want to add to your team, the Celtics were able to get him for pennies on the dollar, sending an injured Leandro Barbosa and an aging veteran in Jason Collins to the nation’s capital.

Thus far, Crawford has proven in his short, three-year career that he can be a dangerous offensive weapon off of the bench. However he’s the type of player that’s either hit or miss – think Nick Young – due to his uncanny ability to launch shot after shot after shot.

For his career, the Xavier product is a 40% shooter from the field and he has converted on 30% of his three-point attempts. Of course, that’s not exactly reminiscent of efficient shooting but that’s the type of accuracy you’re going to get from a guy who continues to shoot the ball whether he’s hot or cold.

But despite his inefficient shooting, I believe that Crawford has just as good a chance to earn minutes under Brad Stevens that guys like Courtney Lee and MarShon Brooks possess.

Jordan is young, quick, and athletic which are all traits that are ideal for a team that will most likely look to up the pace during 2013-14. In addition to that, he can score just as well as both Lee and Brooks and he’s an extremely underrated passer, assisting on 21% (per Basketball-Reference) of his teammates field goals throughout his NBA tenure.

All that said, the amount of playing time that Crawford earns is certainly going to come down to how well (or poorly) he performs during training camp. If he impresses, I expect him to be the second or third guard off of the bench for the Celtics, primarily serving in a role that requires him to play a little point guard when Rondo is on the bench. Expect him to put up some points from the one position while he quietly continues to set up his teammates in the half court. But just remember, this is Jordan Crawford we’re talking about. By no means will he play mistake free basketball and last year was evident of that, but for every two slip ups there’s one play that will make you wonder how he did it.

In contrast, should he disappoint in camp we’ll most likely see him at the end of the Celtics bench while Danny Ainge throws his name into the “for sale” pool. His fate in the 2013-14 campaign is ultimately in his hands. We’ll see what he does with the opportunity.

Stat Projections:

19.1 MPG, 8.2 PPG, 3.3 APG, 32% 3-FG

Sloan Piva (@sloanpiva)

Add Crawford to the list of players liable to fail during Boston's rebuilding process. His streaky offensive game and unwillingness to play team basketball will limit his minutes, especially considering the logjam of two-guards on the C's active roster. Crawford could be a legitimate NBA talent for a veteran-led contender, not a young squad in the midst of a rebuild.

Stat Projections:

20.4 MPG, 9.1 PPG, 2.1 APG, 31% 3-FG

Daniel Baker (@Daniel_Baker9)

Living in the DMV, I’ve had the fortune -- I won’t say “good” or “mis” before it -- of watching Jordan Crawford a bit more closely than some of my other CLNS Radio colleague as he spent much of the past three seasons with the Washington Wizards. The knock on Crawford was always that he shot with the confidence that he was Jordan. Michael, that is.

You don’t have to be a seasoned NBA GM to understand the differences between the two. Heck, you don’t even need to know anything about the game to grasp the ocean-wide gap between the two players. However, I believe some of that criticism has been misplaced. Crawford may have shot a game or two away, but he also helped win just as many that could’ve been lost. There’s something to be said about a guy who feels comfortable jumping off the bench and hoisting a 25-footer and truly believing it’s going in, no matter the situation. Though I admit, sometimes what is said is negative, but at this level, confidence is important. What’s more important is how you manage that confidence.

In Washington, Crawford played on sub-par teams with less than optimal talent and often in a locker room that wasn’t conducive to winning. The Wizards jettisoned the head cases before last season and half-way through, shipped Crawford to Boston. There, he found a veteran coach and teammates who showed him what it takes to win. His work atmosphere changed for the better and I liked how his attitude on the court evolved in the short time he wore Celtics green. He’s the guy who can rip off 10 points in the blink of an eye and truly be a spark for the second or third unit.

Under Brad Stevens, I see the Celtics continuing to rely on their defense (just like we saw at Butler) and if Crawford wants to play at all, he’s going to have to buy into that philosophy. Last season was a test and I think he passed. Here’s what I see for Jordan Crawford in the 2013-2014 season:

Stat Projections:

16.5 MPG, 8.9 PPG, 2.2 APG, 34.7% 3-FG

Rich Conte (@richconte)

Bill Simmons calls them “irrational confidence guys”.  They are often the difference between an ineffectual bench and one that strikes fear into an opponent and impacts games.  Jason Terry was brought to Boston to be that guy for the Celtics last season, but Avery Bradley’s injury, an unstable rotation, and Terry’s ineffectiveness all conspired to compromise that plan.

Enter Jordan Crawford.  The Celtics acquired the 6-4 guard from Xavier just before the trade deadline last year to add depth in the wake of injuries to Rajon Rondo, Leandro Barbosa, and Jared Sullinger as well as to add scoring punch off the bench.  During the remainder of the regular season, he seemed to fit that bill, averaging 9.1 points in 21.6 minutes per game.  However, once the playoffs rolled around, he found his way into coach Doc Rivers’ doghouse and averaged a meager 3.6 points in just under 12 minutes per game.

Entering this season, Crawford will battle with Courtney Lee and Marshon Brooks for minutes behind Avery Bradley at the 2.  Lee certainly has the upper hand given his track record and ability to defend but Crawford (as well as Brooks) has a higher ceiling offensively.  He also has shown some ability to handle the ball and initiate the offense and that skill may help him find some minutes particularly with the point guard situation up in the air.  Alternatively, it’s entirely within the realm of possibility that Crawford is released or traded before camp breaks for the start of the regular season.

Stat Projections:

9.1 MPG, 4.1 PPG, 2.3 APG, 34.5% 3-FG