To this point in the season Boston Celtics combo-guard Jordan Crawford has performed admirably in Rajon Rondo's stead, averaging 12.8 points on career bests of 45.7 and 38.6 percent shooting from the field and three point range, respectively. In addition, the Xavier product is currently producing career bests in assists (5.3) and rebounds (3.2) while tying his career best 88.5 percent clip from the stripe.
No, Crawford isn't anywhere close to being on the same level as Rondo. However that doesn't mean "Steez" hasn't been able to help keep his team hovering around .500 in the meantime as they await the return of their superstar floor general.
But that's just it; Crawford has been able to maintain his above average play in the meantime due to the extended minutes he's received so far this year. And with Rondo's imminent return inching closer and closer it's time to start thinking about what the remainder of the 2013-14 season has in store for number 27.
Surely he won't replace a 100 percent healthy Rondo in head coach Brad Stevens' starting lineup and given Avery Bradley's superior skill set on the defensive end of the floor, as well as an improving offensive game, Stevens would be hard pressed to bench Bradley in favor of Crawford.
With that said, though, the Celtics may have finally found a legitimate backup ball handler in Crawford. One that can come off the bench and score points in a hurry and direct the offense without skipping a beat whenever Rondo is on the sideline. This type of guard is a luxury the Celtics haven't been fortunate enough to have for years, and what better time for Crawford to emerge than during a season where Boston will have to ease Rondo back into the rotation? After all, the 27-year old will almost certainly be unable to play the absurd 40-plus minutes per game that he has become so accustomed to right off the bat.
Steez has enjoyed what has probably been the best stretch of games in his career and he deserves to remain a key rotational piece for the Celtics even when Rondo is ready to go. Whether that's in a couple of days or a couple of months we can't know for sure. But what we do know is that Jordan Crawford has done more than enough to prove that he's ready to make contributions in multiple facets of the game. His game has matured, he's earned these minutes, and he's earned the opportunity to maintain his status as a difference maker on this team. Barring any unforeseen incidents, it will probably take a lot more than Rondo's return to the court for Crawford to fall out of favor in Boston.