It seems like Jordan Crawford should be a lot older than 24 years old.
Crawford became famous in a fuzzy video taken on a handheld camera that showed him, as an underclassman at Xavier, kinda-sorta dunking over LeBron James. He left Xavier after one year — having also left Indiana, his first stop as a college player, after one year — was traded on draft night, got traded again midway through his rookie season and was traded for a third time last season. He has bounced around so much, it seems like he has been in the NBA a lot longer than three years.
Yet here is Crawford, entering his fourth professional campaign, on his third NBA team, and the moment of truth has arrived. Crawford will be a restricted free agent at the end of the season and must prove that he is more than the unhinged, free-shooting wild thing he has been since his high school days in Virginia. Volume-shooting guards are a dime a dozen in the NBA. He has to find a way to set himself apart.
The Celtics signaled a challenge of sorts when they agreed to take MarShon Brooks as part of their trade with the Nets. Brooks, also 24, is another offense-first two-guard whose career could go either way at this point. There is little mystery which player the Celtics like better. They drafted Brooks, after all, even if they were only doing it to immediately flip him to the Nets. Crawford, by contrast, was picked up almost out of panic in response to Leandro Barbosa‘s season-ending injury.
Crawford is a natural and willing scorer. Despite dwindling playing time over the last season and a half, he has never averaged less than 11.6 points per game. He knows how to create his own shot, even when it would probably be better for the team if he helped create a shot for a teammate instead. There are skills there for Celtics coach Brad Stevens to exploit, if he desires.
To kick off the official start of the NBA offseason, NESN.com will ask fans whether they think the Celtics should keep or move on from each player. The following day, we will provide the fans’ verdict. Here is the schedule*:
Monday, July 15: Rajon Rondo (Verdict: Keep him, 67 percent)
Tuesday, July 16: Courtney Lee (Verdict: Move on, 52 percent)
Wednesday, July 17: Shavlik Randolph (Verdict: Keep him, 60 percent)
Thursday, July 18: Jeff Green (Verdict: Keep him, 92 percent)
Friday, July 19: Gerald Wallace (Verdict: Keep him, 51 percent)
Monday, July 22: Kris Humphries (Verdict: Keep him, 53 percent)
Tuesday, July 23: Keith Bogans (Verdict: Keep him, 62 percent)
Wednesday, July 24: Fab Melo (Verdict: Keep him, 53 percent)
Thursday, July 25: Jared Sullinger (Verdict: Keep him, 98 percent)
Friday, July 26:
Monday, July 29: MarShon Brooks (Verdict: Keep him, 92 percent)
Tuesday, July 30: Jordan Crawford
Wednesday, July 31:
D.J. White Phil Pressey
Thursday, Aug. 1: Colton Iverson
Friday, Aug 2: Kelly Olynyk
*Subject to change pending any moves