Though it may well be short-lived, all praise Jordan Crawford, keeper of the point guard flame for our beloved Boston Celtics for the last four games. Long branded as a volume scorer who has never seen a shot he didn’t like, Crawford is flourishing at the point guard, having been given a chance to man the point for the first time in his career. As a tribute to the other Jordan, here’s Crawford’s draft profile (nothing at all regarding an ability to play point guard) from June, 2010 at Draft Express:
•Jordan Crawford is an interesting case to analyze, as he is efficient in virtually every situation, and shouldered a heavy load for Xavier, but his inability to get to the foul line prevents him from standing out as much as he probably could. The second most efficient player in our rankings overall (1.014 PPP), Crawford gets fouled on 5.1% of his shots (3rd last). A highly ranked catch and shoot player with or without a hand in his face, Crawford’s inability to draw fouls renders him as a below average finisher at .993 PPP
Over the last four games (two against lowly Jameer Nelson of the Magic, one against the NCAA-replacement-level Jazz, and one against the uninspired Heat), Crawford has enjoyed a mini-renaissance, getting big minutes at point guard in Rondo’s absence, and in place of the Avery Bradley point guard experiment. In those four games, Crawford has compiled 23 assists to only 5 turnovers.
Over his last five games, Crawford has accumulated 7 steals and shot efficiently from long-distance (6 of 15). Avery Bradley has enjoyed the familiarity of playing shooting guard, and the fact that Orlando left him wide open on Monday. After a 14-for-40 (35%) start to the season, Bradley has shot 18 of 29 (62%) from the field in the last two games.
Hats off to you, Mr. Crawford, and to you, Mr. Bradley. Mr. Crawford, you are confusing us all with your point guard acuity, and Mr. Bradley, you are delighting us with a consistent jump-shot that we have longed for. You have both enabled this Celtics team to roar temporarily back to the .500 mark.
Brad Stevens called Crawford on the team’s recent off-day (Sunday) and explained to him how important his role would be in Monday’s game. As Celtics fans, we should appreciate the fact that Stevens has an open mind. Other coaches may have written Crawford off, given his shoot-first, no defense reputation. Instead, Crawford is flourishing.
From Chris Forsberg’s ESPN Boston post:
“I think he’s really doing a great job,” coach Brad Stevens said. “He’s got a lot of confidence out there. He’s always been a guy that had good confidence about him, but I think the thing that I’ve been most pleased with through really the entire time I’ve been around him is his consistency. That’s an area in which you have to really embrace if you’re going to be a good point guard because everybody’s depending on you to be reliable on a day-to-day basis.”
Stevens noted how he phoned Crawford during Sunday’s offday (oh, to hear that conversation!) and spoke of how Monday’s game was the team’s biggest of the season coming off a thrilling (but flawed) win in Miami. During pregame warm-ups, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge slung his arm around Crawford’s shoulders and imparted some friendly advice.