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Analysis: Warriors may win big by going small with Crawford

By Art Garcia,
Posted Nov 22 2008 10:12AM

Jamal Crawford should fit in well in Don Nelson's offense in Golden State.
Nick Laham/NBAE/Getty Images

It's not every day that one team can dump someone they have no intention of playing in exchange for a 20-point scorer, but Golden State did just that Friday by sending Al Harrington to New York for Jamal Crawford.

If only Donnie Walsh and the Knicks could do the same with Stephon Marbury.

Chris Mullin provided Don Nelson with some much-needed backcourt firepower as the Warriors continue to operate without Monta Ellis. Mully and Nellie may have hit on something with Anthony Morrow, but the rookie out of Georgia Tech only has five games under his belt.

Crawford has eight-plus years. The 6-5 guard is coming off a career season and was leading Mike D'Antoni's up-tempo Knicks in scoring. Nellie expects him to fit right in with Golden State.

"We play very similar to New York anyway," he said. "He won't have a hard time."

Warriors, Knicks agree on Harrington, Crawford trade
Video: D'Antoni on Marbury situation
Video: Marbury on his current status
Video: Mullin on Warriors deal with Knicks
• Official Release: Knicks trade Crawford to Warriors

Harrington shouldn't, either. When he was part of Nellie's rotation, the 6-9 power forward delivered solid numbers. When the Warriors decided to go in a different direction this season, however, Harrington became the odd man out.

"It was a very fair trade both ways," Nelson said. "Both sides got a good player. I don't like to trade big for small, but I said going in that we weren't going to do anything unless we get a good player and we did."

Harrington was part of trade talks this summer, but nothing materialized. When he went public with his desire to be traded once the season started, it effectively ended his run in the Bay Area.

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This is Harrington's third tour of duty with Walsh, who drafted him out of high school 10 years ago. Walsh, with Indiana at the time, brought Harrington back to the Pacers in a trade with Atlanta in 2006.

In a new conference later in the day Walsh said, "My feeling is [Al Harrington] will pick [the style of play] up because he's been playing at Golden State so he's kind of playing that kind of a system, so I imagine Al will be able to pick it up."

Harrington's ability to run and score in the post should fit D'Antoni's style. His contract coming off the books in two seasons fits Walsh's plan to be a major player in 2010 when LeBron James and others potentially hit the open market.

"This trade also gives us more long-term flexibility while enabling us to remain competitive this season," Walsh said. "To acquire a player of Al's caliber, we had to give up someone we all really liked in Jamal."

The Knicks are thin in the backcourt in the short-term, but Nate Robinson, Wilson Chandler and Quentin Richardson can play bigger roles to make up for Crawford's 36 lost minutes.

While bringing in Crawford gives Golden State an immediate boost as they wait for Ellis, Nellie added it's not a stopgap measure. The Warriors still had a void missing in the backcourt with Baron Davis' defection.

"With or without Monta, it helped," Nelson said. "We're going to go small anyway."

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