Josh Smith is taking up much of the headlines for the Atlanta Hawks this offseason. Smith has given the Hawks and his hometown city of Atlanta seven unforgettable years. But it seems to be inevitable that Smith and the Hawks are going to part ways.
Also, Smith is not the only player that the Hawks have to make a decision about. Jamal Crawford is a free agent and will rightfully be demanding a big contract.
Crawford is a proven scorer, plays the one or two, can be a starter or your sixth man, and cause troubles to the opposing team's backcourt on the defense.
However, Crawford is not without his flaws. He has a tendency to have a poor shot selection, is not a pass first player when he is point guard, and will call his own number whenever he feels like it is the best play for the team.
So, what should the Hawks do? Do they try to re-sign Crawford or let him walk? Let the debate begin.
You cannot deny Jamal Crawford’s ability as a scorer. The NBA’s all-time leader of four-point plays can put up points in bunches quickly. His scoring ability helps open up the offense and allows Joe Johnson to get some better looks. It is always nice to have another threat to score the ball and keep the defense honest.
Without Jamal Crawford, the Atlanta Hawks bench takes a huge hit. There is not much there to begin with and Crawford really is the team’s only scorer on the bench. He allows for starters to rest while not having a major drop off on the offensive end.
It is always critical for a team to have that player who can give a team an extra edge during the key moments of the game. To be the guy who may not be the No. 1 option, but is not afraid to have the ball in his hands and step in when his teammates need him the most. Crawford is Atlanta’s X-Factor and would need to find a new one if the Hawks let him go.
Jamal Crawford is not the most consistent scorer in the league. He can give you 30 to 40 points one night and be lucky to break double figures the following game. This fits Atlanta well who one night looks like one of the top teams in the league, then leave you scratching your head the next game and wondering where did the Atlanta Hawks go.
Much like Josh Smith, Jamal Crawford takes some shots at times that result in frustration. He has the range, but it is more about shooting with multiple defenders guarding him, bad angles and settling for shots with too much time left on the shot clock.
Jamal Crawford’s play in Atlanta has giving himself quite a bargaining chip in terms of being offered a big deal. Whether or not Crawford deserves a max contract offer or not is still to be determined, but because of last year’s signing of Joe Johnson to a blockbuster deal, the Hawks do not have much spending room.
If Crawford does end up getting offers from teams with the high contract he wants, I do not think that Atlanta will be able to find the money to make him stay.
In the end, I think that the best choice that the Atlanta Hawks can make is to let Jamal Crawford. He has been a great player for the Hawks, but I think Atlanta is not going to get the deep playoff run with him on the roster.
We need to see how effective we can be at getting free agents to want to come to Atlanta. We have Johnson and Al Horford, who is the future of Atlanta. Jeff Teague also looks he could become the drafted point guard the Hawks have always hoped they would get.
With time on their side because of the lockout, Hawks management needs to show their team and the city just how committed they truly are to bringing a championship to Atlanta. The only thing we as fans can do is hope it will be moves to try and improve the team and not save a few people some money.