The Case For Jamal Crawford

Jamal Crawford

While the 2012-2013 NBA season is still in its infantile stage, people have already taken to making their cocksure predictions. Something that up to this point hasn’t served the Lakers fans (or the Knicks doubters) well. Predictions are usually just whims based off of loyalties or passions and rarely take into account analysis and careful observation. So instead of a prediction, NBA Jerks projects―not predicts―that Jamal Crawford will win this year’s NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award.

Jamal Crawford
Los Angeles Clippers shooting guard Jamal Crawford Gary A Vasquez US PRESSWIRE

While the debate has heated up somewhat between who is the leading candidate, a recently matured J.R. Smith or the crossover clinic that is Jamal Crawford, a deeper analysis puts Crawford at the podium.

In a deep, offense-friendly Clippers team, Crawford is leading his mates in scoring with 20.7 points per game. While the New York Knicks are equally as talented and offense-friendly a team (they only trail the Clippers by .3 points in the points per game category, ranked as 3rd in the league right after the Clips), J.R. Smith is only contributing 16.7 points per game off the bench. J.R. is having a better rounded year, as he easily leads Crawford in the assists and rebounds category with 5.1 RPG and 3.0 APG, but is racking up those numbers in 34.1 minutes per game of play. At a whole six minutes less a game, or 28.1 MPG, Jamal Crawford currently ranks tenth in the league in scoring. When projected for play at points average per 48 minutes, Crawford only trails Kobe.

Those that despise one-dimensionality in basketball, should probably take a closer look at their favorite “stars” anyway, and also take into account that Crawford was called upon by his coach to be an offensively aggressive player. As Crawford told the Chicago Tribune, “playing for Vinny (Del Negro) has been great. He just believes in me and my talent and always wants me in attack mode.” And attack, he has.

Even in a disappointing loss in the preseason to the Miami Heat, Jamal Crawford shined, contributing with 16 points in 30 minutes. His offense and killer crossovers have always been a staple of his game, and something he was hired to continue in LA. After losing their third-leading scorer in Mo Williams to the Utah Jazz, the Clippers needed a scoring supplement. And Jamal is contributing with All-Star worthy numbers.

He has poured in 22, 22, 25, and 21 in wins against the Chicago Bulls, Miami Heat, his former team the Portland Trail Blazers, and the pre-D’Antoni Los Angeles Lakers. In perhaps their most important win this season, against the chart-topping Grizzlies, Jamal sunk in 29 points for the Los Angeles Clippers. Plus the 2009-2010 NBA Sixth Man of the Year has the handles of a spin cycle. Ray Allen, Rudy Gay, Metta World Peace, and, oh yes, San Antonio rookie Nano de Colo, have been some of his latest victims.

But that’s not the only projection we’re willing to place in Jamal Crawford’s future. As Chris Paul, an All-Star in his own right, told, “Forget the Sixth Man Award; he’s an All-Star.” If Crawford keeps up the production and superhuman dribbles, we might see him at the Toyota Center in Houston come February 17th.

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Bogar Alonso
Bogar Alonso is a dedicated student of the hardwood, soccer pitch, boxing ring, and tennis court. He is a regular NBA contributor to XN Sports. His work, involving more than just sports, has appeared on The Creators Project, A&E Networks, XXL Magazine, and others. Follow Bogar on Twitter @blacktiles