Jordan Crawford has been nothing short of the surprise of the year so far. He's playing against his old team today - the same team that sold him to the Celtics for ...well, nearly nothing. They just wanted to move on without him and not have to pay his salary this season. The same guy that won Eastern Conference Player of the Week recently. That's just amazing.
Obviously he's been filling in much better than expected at point guard, but one thing that has really made a big difference has been his shooting.
A lot of it has to do with his his midrange jumper, which has been elite through the first month and a half of the season. The inimitable Kirk Goldsberry covers this more in depth here, but long story short, Crawford has been the best mid-range shooter in the NBA this season, having made 51%(!!!) of his two point jump shots through December 13. He actually has the stroke to be one of the better shooters in the league, but there should eventually be some regression to the mean and I suspect he'll finish the year shooting closer to 45% on these shots. Still, that's really good, and he's going to be a great sixth man some day if he can ever accept coming off the bench longterm.
Can he keep up hitting 50% of his mid range shots? No, probably not. But as Thomas Pruitt mentions, if he only regresses to 45% that's still really, really good.
I'm less concerned with him "accepting" his role as I am about the natrual changes the lineup will go through when Rondo returns.
It’s too early to tell if Crawford has evolved into a serviceable NBA point guard, but nobody can complain about his early-season numbers. His emergence is the first real coup of the Brad Stevens era in Boston. Crawford has stabilized the Celtics backcourt and enabled Avery Bradley to slide back into his comfort zone as a 2-guard. Some Celtics fans are legitimately worried about what will happen to Crawford’s role and his minutes once Rajon Rondo returns from his injury. That would have been a crazy thing to write just a few months ago.
I've mentioned this before but I see him as a guy that loves having the ball in his hand. Will he be ok shifting more to an off guard role? Obviously he's the first choice to backup Rondo, but after Rajon gets his legs under him he'll be playing the majority of minutes at point. It is nice to have two ball handlers on the court at the same time and in fact Brad Stevens has indicated that his best teams in college ran out two PGs on the court at the same time.
In theory, he's the perfect 6th man, instant offense kind of guy off the bench. He's got the tools to be a game changer. But I worry about his head and his old habits creeping in. So far Brad Stevens seems to have a good handle on him. I just hope he it keeps working. We'll only know what will happen once it happens. Till then, we can just sit back and enjoy the Steez show.