The last month has seen quite a turn of events for Jamal Crawford.
At the beginning, he was the unquestioned starter at two-guard for the inaugural season of Mike D'Antoni's reign in New York. Several poor preseason performances later, Crawford was being buried with the dreaded doesnt-get-the-offense label, and he was out of the Knicks' lineup, perhaps on the verge of falling out of the rotation, replaced by, of all people, Stephon Marbury.
By opening night, Crawford had worked to earn his job back. Sunday afternoon, he played his best game of the young season to push the Knicks to a 4-2 start with an upset of the previously undefeated Jazz.
Crawford shot 10-for-17 from the field, including 5-for-7 from deep, to go with 7-of-9 free throw shooting en route to a 32-point afternoon at Madison Square Garden in the Knicks' 107-99 win. It was his third scoring effort of 20 points or more in six games this season, and he continued to shoot the ball well from deep. The 6-5 guard is shooting better than 40 percent from beyond the arc this year, which is a big reason why he is posting a true shooting mark better than 55 percent for the season.
Much as I hate seeing the Knicks experience any success, if they are going to win a particular game, it might as well be Crawford who leads them. For all the inefficiency of his game and the occasional excess of schoolyard nonsense as far as his on-court decision making, this is a guy who has reportedly done a better job than many of his New York teammates with regard to trying to learn the game and making efforts to improve himself and take coaching to heart. He has always been well-spoken, never been an off-court problem, and he has never shied away from taking responsibility on nights when he or his team didn't have it. He still has a long way to go toward becoming a complete player in this league, but Jamal Crawford has taken strides toward earning respect for himself over the last year and change.
Now, if only the Knicks would return to their losing ways, I would be a lot happier about occasionally praising their few likable players.