With injuries leaving Jason Terry, Courtney Lee and Avery Bradley as the only three healthy guards in the Boston rotation, the Celtics needed someone to fill up the excess minutes in the back-court over the next two months. That someone is apparently Jordan Crawford, acquired from Washington for Leandro Barbosa's expiring contract at the trade deadline.
Crawford, a third-year guard from Xavier, clearly has some talent, but he's running out of chances to show it at the NBA level. After wearing out his welcome in Washington, Boston is his third team in three seasons. However, as part of the deal, the Celtics went on the hook for his $2.1 million salary next season, so they clearly think he's salvageable.
A 6'4, 195-pound combo guard who can put up points in a hurry, Crawford's ideal role is as an instant offense type coming off the bench. He was averaging 13 points, 4 assists and 3 rebounds on 42/35/82 shooting for the Wizards this season, but he fell out of favor in the Washington rotation after John Wall's return from injury, receiving a DNP-CD in each of their last four games.
He would likely serve a similar role for the Celtics, backing up Bradley and Lee in a second-unit back-court with Terry. None of the four guards is a traditional PG, but they're all capable of handling the ball well enough to run point for stretches of the game.
The good news for Boston is that Crawford's shot selection and play-making ability, two of the biggest holes in his game, have shown signs of improvement this season. He has the highest field goal percentage (41 percent) and best assist-to-turnover ratio (3.7 to 2.3) of his young career.
Ideally, going from a still largely dysfunctional situation in Washington to a stable veteran locker room in Boston could help Crawford both on and off-the-court. After all, if a young player can't learn from Doc Rivers, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, he probably can't be reached at all.
However, the best veteran role model for Crawford on the roster might actually be Jason Terry, an explosive combo guard who has carved out a long and successful career in the NBA as an efficient off-the-bench scorer.
Boston essentially made a risk-free gamble to see if Crawford could salvage his NBA career. For the first time since entering the league, he has the chance to be a productive member of a playoff-caliber team, but it will ultimately be up to him to make the most of it.
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