Jordan Crawford vs. Nick Young: Who Will Start at SG for the Washington Wizards?

Kevon RobinsonCorrespondent IApril 29, 2011

Jordan Crawford vs. Nick Young: Who Will Start at SG for the Washington Wizards?

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    For once in a long time, the Washington Wizards have "good" team competition at the SG position between Nick Young and Jordan Crawford.

    I’ve watched a lot of Nick Young the past few seasons and I just can't imagine him playing a game like Crawford did against the Cavaliers. Jordan Crawford knew with John Wall being out of the game that he had to distribute the ball more and get other teammates involved—and if you've seen Crawford play before, you would think that would be a pretty hard task.

    The Jordan Crawford/Nick Young analysis in the Washington Wizards fanbase is based a lot on whether or not the franchise should sign Nick Young to a long-term deal over the summer.  Being that John Wall is the franchise player on the team, the backcourt-mate for Wall will depend a lot on who "fits" with him the most.

    Now here is a deeper look into the skill sets these two have...

Defense

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    MIAMI, FL - FEBRUARY 25:  LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat posts up against  Nick Young #1 of the Washington Wizards during a game at American Airlines Arena on February 25, 2011 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees tha
    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    Usually, the Wizards' defensive problems come from the painted area on the court, but with Crawford starting with Wall, I'm afraid it will also be in the backcourt as well.  Crawford is the type of defender that just waits until you let your guard down to steal the ball from you.  Young is the type of defender that just tries to stay in front of his man until the shot clock reaches zero.

    Nick Young used to be labeled as the guard who could score in bunches, but didn't play a lick of defense on the other end; but this past offseason, he has definitely gotten stronger and has improved his on-ball defense.

    Right now, Crawford seems to have taken Nick Young's label as a defensive player in the past and has taken it upon himself.  Jordan Crawford is currently suffering with his back tightening up a lot, which doesn't allow him to get into the full defensive stance.  

    Crawford likes to get Rondo-like steals where he sneaks behind you to strip the ball, but that doesn't always work.  Many opposing SGs just post Crawford up for an easy fadeaway jumper.

     

    Advantage: Nick Young

Offense: Part 1

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    Nick Young seems much more in tune with the offensive flow with where his shots are coming from on the court, where he needs to be on defense and how to use screens.  His maturity is also showing an improvement as he doesn't make a lot of mistakes.

    Adding a third dimension to his game to complement efficient scoring and perimeter defense is crucial in his development. That's the real reason you don’t hear him mentioned with the others that are elite scorers in this league.  Even a shot-jacker like Monta Ellis is averaging five-times the number of assists.

    With his size and strength, it allows him to do an array of moves that Crawford cannot do as effectively, like a Kobe-like fadeaway or driving to the basket through defenders.

    Now for Crawford...

Offense: Part 2

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    Crawford can shoot the three (with crazy range) and he has been for the last few games.  He may turn the ball over, but he also creates turnovers with his steals.  His ball-handling is also better because unlike Young, he doesn't get stripped of the ball when he is dribbling.

    Crawford has played 20 games in the NBA and when he started at PG for the first time in his NBA career, he got a triple-double.  He is better than Young at creating space between him and his defender when shooting the ball and better than Young at getting to the basket.

    He is a rookie.

    Which could lead you to believe that he has a higher ceiling than Young but Crawford wasn't brought on the team when they had three All-Stars in the lineup.

     

    Advantage: Nick Young

Rebounding

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    MIAMI, FL - FEBRUARY 25:  Nick Young #1 of the  Washington Wizards looks on during a pause in the game against the Miami Heat  at American Airlines Arena on February 25, 2011 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by
    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    Honestly, the Wizards have never asked Nick to rebound; his main job was to get out on the break on offense, making it difficult for him to rebound the ball on the defensive end.  The Wizards SF is supposed to help on the defensive boards, while Nick leaks out on the break.

    When he’s on offense, Nick is supposed to be the first defender back on defense, making offensive rebounding difficult. Wall’s job is to penetrate (not get back on defense), while Blatche and McGee both crash the offensive boards—leaving Nick Young to be the first defender back on defense.

    The big reason why Nick Young doesn't play SF is because of his inability to grab rebounds, not because he can't guard opposing SFs.  Crawford on the other hand, had himself a triple-double with the help of his instincts to jump up and challenge for rebounds.  

    It isn't the fact that Nick Young can't be a better rebounder than Jordan Crawford, or isn't right now, it's just that he doesn't bring that skill set to his game.

     

    Advantage: Jordan Crawford

Passing

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    Alright, this is pretty obvious but here is a quick summary of the difference between the passing ability of Crawford and Young:

    Jordan Crawford is a great passer, has great vision and just when everybody thought he would come to D.C. and just shoot, he gave them a surprise by passing the ball well—which eventually gave him the green light to play PG at times.

    Nick Young is a scorer.  Just a scorer.  He never really passes the ball exceptionally great but whenever he drives to the basket when you expect a drive-and-dish to an open teammate, he looks to score.  It isn't that bad, as the Wizards are lacking true scorers, but it could help if he passed the ball every once in a while.

     

    Advantage: Jordan Crawford

Clutch

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    In this category, you have to give the benefit of the doubt to Jordan Crawford.  Crawford is just a rookie who didn't get much playing time at first and is now getting minutes where he will sometimes be in position to put the team on his back to get the win.

    From a college standpoint, I've seen Crawford pull some amazing clutch shots from "Jimmer range." Young, however, has hit clutch shots in big games for the Wizards and has been a go-to scorer in the last two minutes of the game.  

    Right now, I would rather leave the game in Nick's hands than those of a rookie.  Not saying that Crawford won't ever be a better clutch performer but as of now, Young has pulled off more stuff.

     

    Advantage: Nick Young

Nick Young Will Most Likely Be the Permanent Starter for the Wizards Next Year

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    WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 26: Nick Young #1 of the Washington Wizards against the Dallas Mavericks at the Verizon Center on February 26, 2011 in Washington, DC. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Ph
    Rob Carr/Getty Images

    Nick Young, the Wizards Most Improved Player this year, will most likely be the permanent starter for the future due to the numerous things he brings on the court that Crawford doesn't just yet.  

    Crawford brings more of a disadvantage to the Wizards defensively and will just get bodied by the bigger SGs in the league like Kobe Bryant, Brandon Roy, Steven Jackson, etc.

    If the Wizards can't find a better player, then Young should be back next season in the starting lineup.