Name: Jamal (Jcrossover) Crawford
Key Stats: 14.2 points per game in 79 regular season games; 17.3 points per game in 6 playoff games. 341 fourth quarter points (led team), 90.4% on Free Throws (second in league), and seven Four Point Plays (tied with first in the league).
Years in NBA: 15
15-16 Salary: $5,675,000
Future Contract Status: Free Agent
It would be hard to argue that the 2015-16 Sixth Man of the Year had a bad season -- and we will not make the attempt here. Since the season's end, Crawford has, on a couple occasions, suggested that he would like to come back to the Clippers. And, I would imagine, the Clippers would like to have Jamal back as well. Leading the team in fourth quarter points, Crawford remained the Clippers top reserve despite the additions of Josh Smith and Lance Stephenson, as well as the emergence of Austin Rivers.
Although Crawford is thirty-six years old, he is not ready to retire just yet. He is clearly defined as a player at this point: while he is an inefficient scorer, he can bail a team out by hitting a big shot or drawing a foul. It is unlikely that he will progress much as a player, but, if you are the Clippers, you might be willing to take Crawford -- a defined player -- over a player with questionable upside.
Jamal is still a scorer: He is not necessarily efficient (40% from the field) but when he is playing with the second unit, he can create shots for himself and his teammates. Moreover, he is an elite free throw shooter (90.4%), so he can be a trusted set of hands on the court late in games when opposing teams are trying to play the fouling game.
Off the court, Crawford is a well respected person -- both by his peers and the greater community. He is a generous philanthropist and loves the game of basketball as much as anyone. These two character traits are why Austin Rivers and others have praised him as a great and helpful teammate.
So far, we have hinted at the fact that Jamal is an inefficient player; however, his true weakness can be found in his shot selection. Crawford has often said that he, as a shooter, believes that the next shot is always going in -- no matter how many he has missed in a row. While this might be a good attitude to have for athletes in general, it can also be a curse if players do not learn from past failures. In Jamal's case, the confidence he has in his shot leads him to take some pretty awful shots. Granted, sometimes they do go in; however, more often than not they are wasted possessions.
Crawford is also not reliable on the defensive end, which can hurt the Clippers late in games or if he is playing next to another player that cannot defend (Paul Pierce).
Future as a Clipper:
As stated above, Crawford has not been too shy to let it be known that he would like to resign with the Clippers: "That's my first priority, to get something worked out here." Citing that his wife and family like Los Angeles and have appreciated the stability of staying in one place for multiple seasons, he is feeling outside pressure to stay with the Clippers. He has also said that he would like to play about five more years in the NBA (most recently on J.J. Redick's podcast). Whether or not all of those five years will be with the Clippers is up for speculation. But if we take Doc Rivers' call to 'bring our guys back' to include Jamal, we should expect at least the next one or two of his seasons to be with the Clippers, at what price is the real question.
Favorite Moment of the Year:
In a game that was largely unimportant for the Clippers, Jamal Crawford ended the Jazz's shot to make the playoffs with this game winning shot on the road in Utah. What a shot!