Jamal Crawford was an enormous part of the Los Angeles Clippers’ success in the 2012-2013 NBA season. There’s no question why he was in the hunt to win the Sixth Man of the Year award as he averaged 16.5 points, 2.5 assists and 1.7 rebounds in 29.3 minutes per game while shooting a solid 43.8 percent from the floor and 37.6 percent from long-range.
One of the reason’s Crawford was so vital to the Clips’ last season was the fact that their team was so inconsistent on the wings outside of Crawford. If Crawford wasn’t able to get things going offensively, it was hard to trust guys like Willie Green and Chauncey Billups to get the job done on the wings.
Even with that responsibility placed on him, there’s no doubt that Crawford was incredibly impressive last season. Crawford averaged 0.98 points per possession last season, the 94th best mark in the league. As is often the case with a terrific ball-handler and creator like Crawford, he was phenomenal in isolation sets, scoring 0.95 points per possession, the 27th best rate in the NBA.
Crawford was even surprisingly sound defensively last season in L.A., an aspect of his game not often seen. Crawford allowed only 0.82 points per possession last year, the 87th best rate in the league.
However, the good news for the Clippers and Crawford is that the pressure is off. With J.J. Redick, Jared Dudley and Reggie Bullock coming to town this summer, there’s no longer the demand for Crawford to be great on a nightly basis. Though there’s no telling how that will play out for certain, it seems like adding solid depth on the wings would make Crawford a much more free and effective player. The Clippers are already expected to be better than they were last season, but if Crawford improves, they could be a dark-horse contender.