Makes, Drives and Video Tape - By Jon Cooper

Makes, Drives and Video Tape
Rookie Jordan Crawford is looking to show he belongs.
By Jon Cooper

Jordan Crawford doesn't like making a spectacle of himself.

Unfortunately, that knack just seems to follow him around.

There's that video — a topic which isn't so much embarrassing, as it is a topic about which he's grown weary of talking.

Then there are also performances like the one he put up Monday night in the Hawks' exhibition game loss in Detroit, when he scored a game-high 20 points. Those are the kind of moves — the Rip Hamilton crossover which led to him losing his balance notwithstanding — that get people buzzing and which he hopes to be talking about over the coming years.

Although for now, as he tries to fit in, he just wants to play his game, which means scoring the ball, a skill in which he is particularly good.

"That's what got me here," said the 6-4, 195-pound rookie, who was selected No. 27 in the 2010 Draft by the New Jersey Nets then traded to Atlanta later that night for the rights to Damion Jones (No. 24) and Tibor Pleiss (No. 31). "I'm going to try to continue to do that but I also have to do other things because we've already got great scorers that have been doing it way longer than me. So just fit in where I fit in and hopefully have a good run."

On the run could be a metaphor for Crawford's college career. He played one season at Indiana in 2007-08, then, when IU was hit by scandal, transferred to Xavier, where, after sitting out 2008-09, put up a spectacular 2009-10 season, averaging 20.5 points on .462 shooting, .391 from three, with 4.7 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 1.3 steals. In the NCAA Tournament he scored 87 points in three games (28, 27, 32), helping shoot the sixth-seeded Musketeers past No. 11 Minnesota, and No. 3 Pittsburgh before finally falling in double-overtime to No. 2 Kansas State in the Sweet 16.

That ability to score convinced the Hawks to make the Draft Night trade.

"We all talk about it, he's got that edge," said Hawks General Manager Rick Sund. "He's got a confidence that he belongs. That's a big plus at this level and in this league. He does not question his abilities at all. So that edge is going to be a real plus for him."

Head Coach Larry Drew also liked what he saw in Crawford, although he admitted getting an unexpected tip from the YouTube generation to get up to speed on the legend that preceded Crawford.

"It took my own sons to tell me, 'Dad, that was the guy who dunked over LeBron,'" Drew said. "I actually went back and watched a little film and watched some of his highlights. The thing I was really intrigued about was he has this mentality. He gets the ball he feels he can score on anybody he wants to score on, whoever is guarding him and he's not afraid to take the big shot. That's very intriguing."

The rookie certainly was intriguing in the Las Vegas Summer League play, when he averaged a team-high 16.2 points, 3.4 boards, 2.6 assists and 1.8 steals.

Crawford won't deny that he can be a bit precocious, although he has dialed it down as he gets his feet wet in the NBA.

"Everybody in my family has confidence," said Jordan, the middle of three brothers. "I think that's the strongest part of my game. Hopefully I can continue to have that.

"I'm learning every day, getting better. Just getting used to just being an Atlanta Hawk," he added. "I'm getting confident. I've got to build my confidence back up. But every day is getting more comfortable."

Finding a comfort zone will help Crawford get into "the zone" according to retired NBA sharpshooter and current Turner Sports analyst Dennis Scott.

"He's just got to relax," Scott said. "That's hard for a lot of rookies to do because they're so excited to finally get into the NBA and go through all the hoopla and the hype. But at the end of the day, you've got to take a deep breath, relax, get in tune with your head coach and do what he wants you to do first. After that, everything else kind of falls into place."

Some of the hoopla includes rookie initiation. Last week after a practice one such good-natured episode took place.

"I had to dance and sing for the trainer. It was his birthday," said Crawford, breaking into a smile.

So, can you sing?

"No," he said, with a laugh. "Not at all."

Looks like there are now two videos Crawford won't want to talk about.