NBA Free Agents 2011: Is Jamal Crawford a Good Fit on the Chicago Bulls?
As everyone in Chicago knows, the Bulls are just one player, a quality shooting guard, from hanging another championship banner in the United Center. Finding the right player with the right skill set and attitude—that could be a problem.
The makeup of the perfect shooting guard for the Bulls, in my mind, is a bigger 2-guard who can:
1. Contribute 12 to 15 points a night, along with the capability to hit threes.
2. Be at least 6'5'', and play strong defense.
3. Not upset the chemistry of the team.
4. Not take the ball away from Derrick Rose.
No. 2-4 are pretty self explanatory, but No. 1 might not make sense. The framework of 12 to 15 simply states that if the Bulls don't need a Dwyane Wade-caliber player who can chip in 20 a night, but rather a solid player who averages 12 to 15 would bring a championship to Chicago.
Based on these criteria, and a few superficial points, I'm going to look at the possibility of Jamal Crawford joining the Bulls this offseason.
1. Scoring 12 to 15 Points a Game
Crawford can definitely score within the required framework of 12 to 15 as he averaged 14.2 points a game last season for the Hawks. If he were to join the Bulls and play alongside Derrick Rose, he would be given may more open looks than he did last season, so expect that average to rise slightly.
Crawford is also a good enough three-point shooter at 34 percent. While certainly not Kyle Korver, he can spread the floor and force the defense to pay attention to him.
2. Be 6'5'' and Play Strong Defense
Crawford again fits the bill with his size of 6'5'', 200 pounds. While never thought of as a defensive player, or actually one who puts any effort in at all on defense, Crawford could be a decent defender with Tom Thibodeau's help.
3. Not Upset the Chemistry of the Team
Crawford has been a good teammate for the past couple seasons, or at least there has not been any major scandals involving him and the rest of his teammates. But then again, there isn't a lot of evidence to say he is a great teammate as well.
Since he does have somewhat of a chemistry with the Bulls, having been in Chicago before, even if that ended badly, it's a safe bet to assume he would fit in with the Bulls decently well.
4. Don't Take the Ball Away from Derrick Rose
This could be a bit of a problem here. Crawford is one of the players that needs the ball in his hands to be effective, and that takes the ball away from Rose. For example, Crawford takes roughly 12 shots a game, on top of the 14 shots Ronnie Brewer and Kyle Korver combined for this season.
Granted, Brewer and Korver won't take 14 shots a game if Crawford joins the Bulls backcourt, but it isn't inconceivable to believe this trio will combine to take 22 to 24 shots a game, way more shots per game than the shooting guard position took last year.
As a result, by adding a shooting guard similar to Crawford, who takes a lot of shots (12) for only average scoring (14 PPG) the Bulls suddenly are giving their shooting guards, and Crawford, more looks per game, taking the ball away from Derrick Rose.
Crawford is 31 years old. As a result, he is a short-term fix, rather than a long-term fit for the Bulls. The Bulls optimally would want to put a younger player alongside the 23-year-old Rose, and keep the two together for years. Crawford is just too old to be effective for long.
If you were the Bulls GM:
Additionally, Crawford's price tag might be just too rich for a Bulls team that has a lot of money tied up in Joakim Noah, Carlos Boozer, Luol Deng and Derrick Rose's extension.
Sure he can score, but his defense isn't elite, he isn't the greatest teammate, he takes the ball away from Derrick Rose, he's too old and he could command a lot of money. As a result, Crawford just isn't the right player to put alongside Rose, leading to his overall fit being...
Jamal Crawford's Fit with the Bulls: B-
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