Brandon Bass. Courtney Lee. Gerald Wallace. Kris Humphries.
This was the “most-likely to be wanted/traded” list before the season started. Now, that list is just one name long: Jordan Crawford. After assuming the starting point guard duties a few games into the season, Crawford has been nothing short of awe-inspiring. Crawford’s averaging 13.1 points (3rd), 29.1 minutes (4th), and 5.2 Assists (1st) per game.
The numbers are impressive for a player who, before this year, was considered a volatile scorer whose spots needed to be hand-picked for him. Even with that short leash, any injection of Crawford would be accompanied with many crossed-fingers. What’s really dropping Boston jaws is not Crawford’s ability, but the fact that the Celtics are winning without the slight hint of locker room disharmony.
Last night Crawford had one of his better, more complete games as a Celtic. His trade value stuck in your eye like leaf dust on a windy day. Not just because he scored a game high 25 points, but because he did it against the Bucks biggest offseason acquisition OJ Mayo. Crawford’s season is absolutely demolishing Mayo’s. According to Basketball Reference, Crawford’s offensive rating (109) is more then ten notches higher than Mayo’s (94) and they have roughly the same usage rate. In other words, Crawford is doing so much more for the Celtics offense than Mayo even though they both have similar levels of offensive responsibility. Still confused? Okay, Crawford and Mayo both go Jermaine Dupri and say to you, “throw me the ball and watch what I do with it.” Only with Crawford, you’re watching longer.
Did I mention Crawford’s making a quarter of what Mayo’s making? This Crawford/Mayo juxtapostion is a perfect example of how hype and perspective is a double-edge sword. Mayo has been hyped ever since he was in High School and has never really become that number one option. Meanwhile, Crawford is over-coming the perception that he’s a high-volume shooter for bad teams.
Who would have thought Crawford would be a candidate for Celtics’ MVP (Jared Sullinger probably still takes that crown) and that the team would be actually winning at this point in the season after seeing him talk to trash to Carmelo Anthony while he still had his shooting shirt on? Certainly not me.