Rumor has it that the Celtics are “tanking” this season, so don’t expect performances like this to become an every day thing, especially being a part of a tough Eastern Conference.
Unfortunately for the Celtics, it seems that the negatives have continually outweighed the positives. Though one of their minimal highlights of the year was their impressive four game winning streak that included beating the defending champion Miami Heat, there has been one player that has quickly begun to separate himself from the rest, and no, it is not Jeff Green.
The Jordan Crawford experiment has really started to come along quite nicely for the Celtics, as he has become one of Boston’s primary scorers and leaders of the offense. Crawford is currently averaging 12.1 PPG and 4.8 APG along with 1.3 STLPG. Not only has he provided solid minutes on the court, but he has begun to truly solidify himself as Boston’s go-to-guy in this fast paced offensive scheme, that head coach Brad Stevens was able to bring over from his days with the Butler Bulldogs.
The question is, has Crawford become Boston’s most valuable trade chip?
Acquired from the Washington Wizards in last year’s trade deadline, Crawford was expected to be a platoon role player who could potentially become an “X-Factor” and provide instant offense coming off the bench.
After 27 games in his first season with Boston, Crawford compiled averages of 9.1 PPG, 2.5 APG and shot a career high .415 from the field. Though these numbers were mediocre at best, Crawford showed the potential to improve significantly in the Celtics’ organization. With former head coach Doc Rivers and veteran leaders Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett gone, many speculated that Crawford would return to his old “shot happy,” and in some cases, immature ways without a veteran presence there to keep him in line. In fact, the exact opposite has happened.
Though only 25, Crawford is considered a veteran on this team, as crazy as it may sound, and has quickly emerged as an offensive leader. His career highs of .432 from the field and .367 from three point land is a vast improvement in the right direction.
Though Crawford may be tearing it up, as it is still early in the season, the question remains on how, or even if, he will co-exist with franchise point guard Rajon Rondo. Will Crawford find himself on the bench, or will he remain with the starting unit?
The answer to this question is simple.
Once Rondo returns, the inevitable is bound to happen; you can expect Crawford to return to the bench, though still providing a much needed spark for a team that desperately needs it. With Avery Bradley continuing to make a name for himself developing as a potent offense threat, there just seems to be no place for Crawford in the starting rotation. Though guard Courtney Lee has provided valuable minutes off the bench, Crawford should have no problem becoming the back up point guard and finding a home as the sixth man of this team.
But what happens if Crawford doesn’t perform well with Rondo on the floor?
As fast as he has emerged as a dynamic offensive weapon, Crawford can just as quickly find himself out of Beantown for draft picks and possible compensation.
You know the drill, “Tank for Wiggins.” That is the slogan that everybody seems to abide by, and if the Celtics want to jump on board, then they will do anything in their power to get that No. 1 pick, even if it means trading a premier offensive contributor in Crawford.