Just before the NBA trade deadline Thursday afternoon, it was reported that the Boston Celtics made a deal with the Washington Wizards. The Celtics traded center Jason Collins and injured guard Leandro Barbosa for the young shooting guard Jordan Crawford.
Though Crawford didn’t fit too well in Washington after John Wall came back from an injury, he may fair better now that he’s in a different city. Let’s take a look at the strengths and weaknesses of the Celtics’ newest shooting guard.
Besides the issue of their waning roster with point guard Rajon Rondo and power forward Jared Sullinger out for the season, the Boston Celtics have an old team. Kevin Garnett is 36 years old and has 17 years in the NBA, and 35-year-old Paul Pierce is not far behind him with 14 years in the league.
Jordan Crawford is only 24 years old and this is his third year in the NBA. With players like Garnett and Pierce watching their minutes to avoid injury and exhaustion, Crawford’s age is a huge advantage. He will be able to run with younger guards Avery Bradley and Courtney Lee to create fast, point-generating offense.
When John Wall returned from an injury a few weeks ago, Crawford saw less and less time on the court. Whereas he was averaging 36 minutes and 19.1 points per game in December, Crawford was completely sidelined for his last four games with the Wizards. As The Washington Post described, Crawford “slumped, sulked and eventually fell completely out of Coach Randy Wittman’s rotation.”
In response, Wall acted out. After the Wizards lost 96-88 to the Toronto Raptors on February 19, Crawford cast off his shooting shirt and jersey and threw them into the crowd before retreating into the locker room. If Crawford wants to thrive in Boston, he can’t show such disrespect to his team.
When the Celtics lost Rajon Rondo and then Leandro Barbosa to season-ending ACL tears, it became clear to Boston fans that the Celtics needed to find some way to add guards to their squad. Avery Bradley and Courtney Lee have proven themselves a great guard team, but they needed backup.
Jordan Crawford is a young, powerful guard, and he can score points. He had a career high of 39 points with Washington against Miami. Recently, he astounded onlookers when he sank a 27-foot three-pointer over Tony Allen during the Wizards’ loss against Memphis on February 1. With such shooting ability at the guard position, the Celtics are definitely a more powerful team after the trade deadline.
Unfortunately, Crawford had some rude words with Kevin Garnett during a pick-up game in Los Angeles a while back in 2011. According to Yahoo! Sports, Crawford made the “mistake of talking too much to Garnett.”
In response to the guard’s trash talk, Garnett gave the rookie “a smack upside his head, a reminder to Crawford, Rubio and the rest of them: Elders will be respected.” However, Crawford said of the incident, “It was never a thing. It was just basketball. Now we’re on the team, hopefully I can help them.” Moreover, he went along to compliment Garnett, “I think, just to see his intensity every game, should help you get up every game, allow you to bring your best. He’s been doing it for this long, so it’ll be great.” Hopefully, Crawford left all the drama back in Washington.
Even though Crawford can sink some tough shots, he does have a tendency to take wild ones. The Washington Post called Crawford a “relentless, feisty competitor” with a “more-questionable-than-normal shot selection.”
If Crawford wants to become a reliable asset to Boston’s offense, he’s going to need to think before he shoots. The Celtics need a guard who can score points, not throw away the ball. In short, Crawford’s shot selection needs to go from questionable to dependable.
Immediately after Boston acquired Crawford through the trade on Thursday, the shooting guard departed from Washington and played in the Celtics’ Friday night win against Phoenix. He saw more playing time than he got since the Wizards’ February 1 game against Memphis, totaling 17 minutes, 10 points, three rebounds and two assists.
Crawford’s eagerness to become a part of the Boston team is palpable. As The Washington Post reported, Crawford said of his move to Boston, “I think it was time.” He continued, “I’m looking forward to a new situation. And just to help this team win, like they’ve been winning for years. I’m excited.”
Ultimately, Crawford’s optimism regarding his move to Boston and his excitement to work with veterans like Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce have the power to overshadow any doubt that fans have about his new position in the Boston green.