“I don’t tell nobody, but I feel like I can be better than Michael Jordan.”
Better yet, that’s Crawford claiming he could be better than the Airness himself. Really, that one quote perfectly sums up Crawford – brash and headstrong, but also irrationally confident. The Warriors decided against extending Crawford’s qualifying offer yesterday, and within 24 hours, reports claimed the Warriors had signed point guard Shawn Livingston.
So, the big question is: was it a mistake to let Crawford walk?
Ask the Warriors’ fans, and majority will say no. Crawford, who has played for four different teams, is entering his fifth year in the league. And in that time, he has never shot above 41.7% from the field. He scores inefficiently, with many of his shot attempts originating in the long-2 region of the court. As a result, he rarely gets to the free throw line, and is only averaging 2.4 free throw attempts throughout his entire career.
The Warriors acquired Crawford in a three-team trade midway through the season, with incumbent backup Toney Douglas moving to the Miami Heat. Crawford had been playing well in Boston, and some even petitioned to have him as part of the Eastern Conference All-Stars. Under Brad Stevens, Crawford played much more conservatively and efficiently. He had a career low usage rate at 22% and career low shot attempts (19.5), but had the highest assist percentage of his career (31%) and a career high true shooting percentage (52.5%). These were all indicators of a change in playing style, and was presumably the reason why the Warriors took a chance on Crawford.
Unfortunately, as soon as he arrived in Golden State, he was back to his old ways. He was tasked with leading the second unit, but was more concerned with creating his own shot via isolation, as evidenced by his career low assist percentage (14.2%). The Warriors’ bench struggled to score, and Crawford simply slowed the offense to a crawl with his isolation and unwillingness to pass.
The Warriors were vindicated in their decision to let Crawford go; they knew what they were after, and Crawford just didn’t fit the mould. It seems as though Golden State will not be the home of the self-proclaimed second coming of Jordan.