“He’s done nothing but buy in,” head coach Brad Stevens said after the Celtics first preseason win, talking about Jordan Crawford. When you put that phrase in the context of who Crawford is as a basketball player, it becomes pretty amazing that Stevens is saying that.
‘Buying in’ is not precisely what Mr. Steez is known for. Actually, it’s quite the opposite, seeing how Washington was begging for someone to take him away from their team, eventually dealing him for an injured Leandro Barbosa and Jason Collins.
However, after 4 preseason games we’ve seen a mature Jordan Crawford, and dare I say, a player that could be looked at as a leader – gulp.
“I just think Jordan’s a playmaker; he makes them for himself, he makes them for others,” Stevens continued “He’s a good basketball player.” There’s evidence that this is not just a coach supporting a ‘troubled’player; this is more than that.
Crawford has embraced his role. That is all you can ask from a guy who’s known for shooting every bad shot he can find.
Now he’s sharing the ball, helping with PG duties, making the right passes, and even rebounding. He shoots when he can of course, but more important than the fact that his shots are falling is the fact that his shots are being taken in the flow of the offense.
He is being a team player out there on the court, there is no way to go around that. No matter how hard that may be to write or to believe (looking at you Zach Lowe), the dude has been playing the right way – of course getting Celtics fans excited.
I am excited for him and for what he can do.
I mean, if this 2 million guy brought in to be a casual emergency scorer last season develops into something to build with or an attractive trade asset, isn’t that going way over expectations? CelticsBlog even made a ‘Who’s the Least Valuable Player?’ question in some of their offseason posts, and Crawford was the favorite pick, not earning much praise from anyone.
Now he’s looking very valuable, especially for the well-being of Avery Bradley. And while this may be a super small sample size, its something in which one takes notice.
Avery had this to say about Steez: ”Jordan’s a fiery guy, he wants to win. I know that I have somebody that’s going to come out every single night and play hard with me. I love playing with him.”
Well, that’s some praise, and from maybe the hardest working dude on the roster it means a lot.
It also bodes well for his leadership talk. Now Crawford isn’t the one doing the talking. Now the ones talking are not only his teammates, but his coach, and most importantly, his play on the court.
Today, I’m feeling comfortable – and happy – with Crawford being a leader. If some situation was going to change his style of play was the one he’s currently in. Rebulding with the Boston Celtics and a team/defense-first coach in Brad Stevens is one hell of a way to stop being a bad-shot taker.
Crawford will be given plenty of chances during the rest of preseason to cement his starting PG spot. If he keeps playing like he’s been doing so far, not only that will happen, but he will be a true team leader on the locker room.