COMMENTARY | Going into the season, a major challenge for rookie head coach Brad Stevens was figuring out the point guard position. Without Rajon Rondo back on the floor, Stevens had his work cut out for him.
Who ever thought Jordan Crawford could be a legitimate point guard option?
Right or wrong, Crawford has gained the reputation of being a selfish offensive player during his time in the league. He's a talented scorer but has never been much of a willing passer. Selfish probably isn't the right word; maybe it's simply a lack of basketball IQ and quality decision-making. Or maybe he just really enjoys taking contested step back jumpers.
Avery Bradley has proved that he is still not capable of playing the point, as his ball-handling is simply not up to par. It didn't take long for Stevens to realize this, as he's already inserted Crawford into the starting lineup and moved Bradley off the ball. Surprisingly, the results have been pretty good. As we've seen when Rondo is on the floor, Bradley is clearly more productive at shooting guard.
Crawford is averaging an impressive 11.9 points, 4.1 assists, 2.4 rebounds, and 1.1 steals on an efficient 50% from the field. Not to mention, he's shooting 36.8% from three and has yet to miss a free throw. In the team's win against the Orlando Magic, Crawford accounted for 10 assists to go along with his 16 points and 5 rebounds. In Boston's thrilling win against the Miami Heat, Crawford posted 15 points on just 10 shots.
He has always been a quality ball-handler, but the improvement in Crawford's decision-making is noticeable. It's clear he's picking his spots more carefully, and is making an effort to get his teammates involved. Also, at 6-4, Crawford gives the team some nice size at point.
Long term, don't expect Crawford to be the team's point guard. That's Rondo's job, but it's nice to have a solid backup option for once. Even when Rondo comes back, Crawford could be the frontrunner to start at shooting guard if he keeps up his play.
If Crawford keeps playing like this, the Boston Celtics will need to take a hard look at their stance on Avery Bradley. He hasn't grown much in recent years, as he remains the high energy defender and below average offensive player that he was two years ago. Injuries are partially to blame, but, at some point, improvement needs to become visible. Assuming Rondo is the team's building block, Danny Ainge needs to take a long, hard look at whether Bradley is worth keeping.
It's very early in the season, but seeing Jordan Crawford emerge as a reliable option is great news for this young Celtics team. If he keeps it up, Boston fans can have a little more optimism looking forward.
Mark lives in the Boston area and has been covering New England sports for various blogs over the past 4 years. He has been featured on Fox Sports Yardbarker, Fox Sports, and Sports Illustrated "Hot Clicks", and has been published on Celtics 24/7, Bleacher Report, and Sports-Kings.
- Sports & Recreation
- Jordan Crawford
- Avery Bradley
- Brad Stevens