Jamal Crawford: Perfect Fit as Veteran of Young Suns
There are two things that an NBA team can never have too much of: veteran leadership and scoring. The Suns received both of those when they signed Jamal Crawford.
“I feel re-energized to be honest with you,” Crawford said. “I just like what the organization is doing. I like the moves they’re making. I love the young players. I love the vets they brought in. So I’m excited.”
The 19-year-veteran is known to have some of the best handles the league has ever seen and, even at his age, can still provide a huge spark off the bench for the Suns.
“Coach just wants me to be who I’ve been my whole career,” Crawford said. “Whatever role he sees fit. Obviously, I’ll try to help others grow, but I feel I can still help as well.”
Crawford is a three-time Sixth Man of the Year recipient that can create instant offense as well as play-make for those around him. He joins a second-unit with TJ Warren and Josh Jackson, as he looks to help mentor the Suns young core.
“I think it will be a great fit,” Crawford said. “A ton of young talent. Obviously you see Josh last year and TJ’s had success. [Devin Booker] has been unbelievable. To see those young pieces continue to grow. To see [Deandre] Ayton come aboard and he’ll be a stud as well.”
For Booker, the Suns aren’t just adding talent, but a player he looked up to when he was younger.
“Somebody that I idolized growing up,” Booker said about Crawford. “People just all see his handles, but he’s a player… He’s a good veteran, good guy. He loves basketball. So I think we’ll relate very well.”
Even with his accolades and all-time ranks, Crawford still has a “prove yourself” mentality when it comes to how much more basketball he has left in him.
“It’s funny because people look at ‘ah his scoring has gone down last year’ but if you look next to that, so have my shot attempts and minutes,” Crawford said. “They all correlate. I still have a lot of gas left. I’m very very excited.”
The Suns added Ryan Anderson and Trevor Ariza to help mentor the young Suns and Anderson believes that Crawford provides another great voice for the locker room and on the court.
“He’s a great veteran guy,” Anderson said. “He’s going to bring a lot to this team. Obviously the experience, but he can score. He’s a playmaker. It’s only going to help us. I’m really excited to have another veteran presence around here.”
Crawford saw his first Suns action on Saturday, but Kokoškov looks to be easing the 38-year-old into his system as he only played seven minutes. Crawford knows that he still has to finish learning the playbook, but is excited to work with his new coach.
“There’s a sincerity to him,” Crawford said about Kokoškov. “I’ve been around a lot of people in this business. He speaks from the heart. It’s very very genuine. I trust his vision and what he wants out there.”
Crawford and the Suns travel to Oakland on Monday to take on the Golden State Warriors. Be sure to catch the action on Fox Sports Arizona.