Shrewd Move Lands Crawford in Boston

BOSTON – Jordan Crawford, a third-year guard out of Xavier, is headed to the Boston Celtics.

The Celtics dealt for Crawford prior to Thursday afternoon’s 3 p.m. trade deadline. Boston sent Leandro Barbosa, who is out for the season with a torn ACL, and Jason Collins to the Washington Wizards in exchange for Crawford.

Jordan Crawford

Jordan Crawford has scored in bunches against the Celtics during his three-year career.
G Fiume/NBAE/Getty Images

Crawford is an explosive offensive player who can be described as a “combo guard.” He was measured at 6-foot-3 at the 2010 NBA Draft Combine, so he’s undersized for an NBA shooting guard. Meanwhile, he doesn’t possess the ball handling skills and vision of a point guard. He’s likely to play the bulk of his minutes with Boston off of the ball, but he should be able to bring the ball up the court if the team needs him to.

Boston’s newest player is much more of a scorer than a ball handler, which, ironically, is synonymous with the type of player Boston lost when Barbosa went down with his injury. Crawford has averaged at least 13.2 points per game for the past three seasons, including this one. He carries career averages of 13.4 PPG, 2.7 RPG and 3.1 APG over to the Celtics.

Crawford had recently fallen out of Wizards head coach Randy Wittman’s rotation. He logged a “DNP-CD” (did not play – coaching decision) during the last four Wizards games and hasn’t sniffed the court since Feb. 6. Does that mean he suddenly cannot score the basketball anymore? Absolutely not.

Despite falling out of the rotation for nearly all of February, Crawford still has 22 games this season in which he has scored at least 17 points. There is only one Celtics player who has accumulated more such games, and that’s Paul Pierce, who has 29. Next in line would be Kevin Garnett, who has tallied at least 17 points only 16 times this season. So if you think Pierce and Garnett are great scorers, you now have an idea where Crawford falls when he has it cooking.

Of all of the teams in the NBA, Boston might be the one that is most familiar with Crawford’s scoring capabilities. He has played 10 career games against the Celtics and logged at least 20 minutes in six of those contests. During those six games in which he received ample playing time, Crawford put up averages of 16.5 PPG, 3.0 RPG and 3.3 APG.

Scoring may be Crawford’s calling card but as the numbers above indicate, he’s a pretty good all around player. In fact, as one senior researcher at ESPN Stats and Info noted, Crawford is one of just seven players in the NBA who averages at least 18.0 PPG, 4.0 RPG and 5.0 APG per 36 minutes of action this season. Who are the other guys on that list? Oh, just LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade, James Harden, Russell Westbrook and Manu Ginobili. No big deal.

To sum this up in plain text, Danny Ainge pulled off a shrewd deal in the final hour before the trade deadline. Ainge unloaded an injured player, Barbosa, while dealing for that player’s replacement. That’s shrewd in its own right, but Ainge simultaneously managed to acquire a young player with upside who has already proven himself to be a legitimate scorer in this league.

Impressive work, Danny Ainge. And welcome to Boston, Jordan Crawford.