At first glance, you wouldn’t think that Jordan Crawford — a journeyman combo guard that has played for four teams in four seasons, never playing for a team that has sniffed the postseason — would be the last piece to a championship puzzle.
But he may be just the missing piece this Golden State Warriors team needs.
On Jan. 15, the Warriors acquired Crawford, along with MarShon Brooks in a three-team trade where they sent Toney Douglas to the Miami Heat. Crawford provides the Warriors with a scorer coming off the bench and can distribute the basketball, which is exactly what they need, and something Douglas struggled with on a daily basis.
Not only does Crawford provide scoring off the bench, he also serves as the Warriors backup point guard. The Warriors have been searching for this piece all season, experimenting with Douglas, Andre Iguodala and Kent Bazemore, but none of these options have worked. Iguodala has been the best option, but he is a starter and should be playing the small forward.
Crawford needs to be able to come in and lead this second unit like Jarrett Jack did last season. One thing that last year’s team was better at than the current team is would be the bench play. Crawford must be able to score the ball and provide scoring opportunities to players like Harrison Barnes and Draymond Green.
But the biggest reason why Crawford needs to perform is to give Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson some much needed rest. Both players play 38 minutes per game, which is too much if this team wants to make noise in the postseason. Curry and Thompson rely their jump shots, which takes lots of energy out of them. As they fatigue, their jump shots become less efficient, which spells bad news to the Warriors postseason hopes.
So far, Crawford is off to a good start with his new team, averaging almost seven points and dealing two assists per game. It may not seem like much now, but he has only played in three games and is still learning his teammates and the Warriors’ style of play.
As he continues to learn his teammates tendencies, he will help this team and hopefully be a vital piece. If he can do this and the Warriors are at full-strength come playoff time, this team will have as a good chance as any to win the Western Conference.