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Jordan Crawford, Inexplicably, Is Playing Extremely Well at Point Guard

 

I’m not sure if the tweet above is referring to Jordan Crawford playing point, but it certainly fits. The Celtics (understandably) didn’t want Crawford running the show since the alternative is, you know, All-NBA superstar Rajon Rondo. But truly, they don’t have a choice. The Steeze is wise, and he has spoken.

At ESPN Boston, Chris Forsberg has a nice feature on Crawford. Click on the link to see Steez’s bravado about playing the point — it’s endearing, hilarious and a little aggravating all at the same time, the perfect encapsulation of him.

Forberg’s piece also includes some numbers which encapsulate Crawford’s impact as a starter.

Crawford’s impact on Boston’s offense is undeniable. Over the past four games, the Celtics own an offensive rating (points per 100 possessions) of 109.3 when he’s on the court (and it drops eight points when he’s off). The downside is an uptick in the team’s defensive rating (104.4 when he’s on the court; 93.7 when he’s off), but it’s hard to argue with the end result (particularly with how well Bradley has played with Crawford next to him).

One other monster benefit of having Crawford on the floor as a ball-handling presence: Boston’s turnover rate has plummeted. The Celtics were the worst team in the league in turnover percentage while dropping their first four games. In the four wins since, Boston’s turnover rate drops to 13 percent when Crawford is on the floor (it’s still up at 18 percent for the season).

More thoughts, including a video, after the jump.

It’s not a huge surprise that Crawford helps an offense but hurts a defense, nor is it a surprise that Bradley’s move to off-ball offense has produced such excellent results.

Perhaps the biggest surprise has been how versatile Crawford has looked as a point guard. It’s not just pick-and-rolls that are working, it’s…well…everything.

Included in that video:

— A Rajon Rondo-esque dish in transition to get Jeff Green involved rather than scoring himself.

— Two post entry passes to Jared Sullinger which have thus far eluded the Celtics (and forced Sully into taking pick-and-pop 3-pointers that have most Celtics fans foaming at the mouth).

— Two gorgeous passes backdoor to a cutting Bradley.

— An extra pass in transition to a trailing Kelly Olynyk for the slam, a pick-and-pop for Olynyk at the elbow and a gorgeous lookaway that produced a layup for Olynyk.

— Some crazy whirling thing to Brandon Bass.

— A stat-stuffing assist to Jeff Green.

There’s a lot of variety in those passes, and they all worked to make Crawford’s teammates better on offense. That’s not something Bradley, for all of his many good qualities, can boast. When Steez is entrusted with the keys to the offense, he turns the team from a gas-guzzling Hummer into an efficient Hybrid.

I know. I don’t get it either.

The Celtics don’t have much of a choice but to play Crawford at point guard, but if early indicators hold, Boston’s only option isn’t a bad option at all.

Follow Tom on Twitter: @Tom_NBA.

  • hax

    I always thought we had the trade deadline steal last season. He can put up 20 ppg if he needs to, and is out to prove he can do anything a coach asks of him. Have to keep in mind Doc was preaching to him all the time to 'be aggressive', hence the huge amount of crazy shots. Also Brad Stevens thinks highly of him and sees it as his primary project of making one guy better through good coaching. If he can come off the bench for bradley and hit some shots, stay on the floor when rondo gets benched for a few mins and play pg like this…we have something.

  • glp

    Crawford is a big enough to defend against bigger shooting guards leaving Bradley to harass smaller pg. With Rondo on the court , Bradley has to defend against likes of Kobe and Ray who could post him up or shoot over him.

  • Mark

    If he keeps this up he'll be a great trade asset at the deadline.

  • hydrofluoric

    What's with the constant use of the word "inexplicably"? CelticsHub was literally running articles seven months ago about Jordan Crawford's nasty passes.

  • Joe

    Said it before… let’s have the Jordan Crawford show until rondo is healthy.

  • The Cardinal

    Crawford showed flashes of what we're seeing in Atlanta, but got labeled as "selfish," etc… and traded to Washington, and now we continue to use confirmation bias to perpetuate the label. LET…IT…GO and let's all be thankful that this kid has been very, very good in a role that no one else was or is able to fill.

    That says a lot about how talented he is, and although the ref's may continue to be quick with the "T" because of reputation, as fans, we need to LET…IT…GO! It's not like he has murdered or assaulted anyone – he's just a young, cocky, mouthy dude who plays hard (good thing), hates losing (good thing), takes up for his teammates (good thing) and is proving he's almost as good as he thinks he is (very good thing). He is a young Barbosa 2.0 who may not be quite as quick as Barbosa in his prime, but who may ultimately become a better all-around player and remember that in his prime, Barbosa was the Sixth Man of the Year!.

  • Jim

    I am on the Crawford bandwagon. He takes care of the ball, makes his team mates better and he can score. If he can improve on defense we really have something. Please do not trade him. We do not need Bradley back as a point guard when Rondo returns. I believe we have a guy in our coach who can get the most out of people.

  • hax

    One play last game. Wide open 3, and he slings it to olynyk for the easy dunk. Was amazing.