Up in the great northwest, Los Angles Clippers guard Jamal Crawford, has been throwing back a few. Unfortunately for those competing in his Seattle pro-am tournament, its been a variety of acrobatic attacks at the rim and not brews that the flashy Washington state native has been downing. Last week, Crawford dropped a smooth 51 points in an exhibition, scoring from the paint, the arc and Spokane.
There’s a reason there is no D in the word exhibition. The leagues are high-profile pickup games consisting of some NBA talent, college role players and YMCA all-stars. But whenever there’s is a basketball in a room, egos are close by.
You won’t see many double-teams in these games. But with street cred on the line, it’s in the best interest of those participating not to find themselves on the wrong end of YouTube mix tape.
Real game situation or not, Crawford displayed ball skills very few professionals in basketball have. Yet Crawford seemed to be born with it. He excited the crowd with a dribbling display that would be labeled monotonous in the NBA, but often concluded it with a Michael Jordan-like fade-away jumper.
The 33-year-old combo guard is still a step or two ahead of father time, but age is not just candles on a birthday cake: it comes with baggage, expectations and an expiration date.
NBA fans want to be entertained, and the Clippers have to win. Can Crawford give the fans their money worth, while making good on the investment of an organization obsessed with being on the inside of the league’s velvet ropes? Can the former Sixth Man of the Year wow his teammates with easy opportunities initiated by ball movement?
There’s a reason why the Oklahoma City Thunder‘s Derek Fisher has rings, yet couldn’t defend Crawford in a guarded holding cell. Basketball is a team game. Pro-am basketball is is more about bragging rights for the host city and the players that may never share a court with the likes of Crawford again.
ChristopherBrown is an NBA writer for RantSorts.com. Follow him on Twitter @whatrockschris. Like him on Facebook.