It’s been a few years now since Jamal Crawford ruined Kirk Hinrich’s life (see video), and in the interim he very nearly ascended to the rank of journeyman, bouncing around from Chicago to New York to Golden State before finally settling into his predestined role as perennial Sixth Man of the Year candidate with the Atlanta Hawks.
Now, two seasons removed from that crowning achievement, Crawford, a Seattle native, is celebrating a homecoming of sorts by signing a two-year contract with the Blazers. It’s a bittersweet occasion for the franchise, as his signing necessitates that the team exercise its amnesty clause on Brandon Roy rather than allow him to maintain some small shred of dignity by taking the medical retirement route. Such is the world we live in.
What that means moving forward is that the team has locked in a reliable scorer who can fill the gaping hole at the two-guard position left behind by Roy. Lord knows the Blazers have struggled mightily on the offensive end at times over the last few seasons, despite Lamarcus Aldridge’s emergence as a prolific scorer and clutch performer and now defacto cornerstone of the franchise.
Other than that, the Blazers have a squad full of streaky shooters subject to scoring droughts, which is right where Crawford fits into the equation. They’ll likely divide his time with Matthews, which could prove difficult considering he (Crawford) historically plays heavy minutes in the rotation, despite coming off the bench, averaging between 25-30 mpg. On the defensive end, his length and his quickness should be an asset as well.
Crawford made his debut Monday as the Blazers knocked off the Jazz in the preseason opener, and as Canzano pointed out, the team already looks comfortable as a unit; they moved the ball well and played at a nice up-tempo pace uncharacteristic of recent squads. It should be interesting to see how they establish their pace throughout the regular season now that they have a considerably faster, younger, and healthier back court with Raymond Felton at the helm.
In the meantime, here’s a little taste of what we can hopefully look forward to from our newest addition: