State of the Celtics: Jordan Crawford named Eastern Conference Player of the Week

Bruce Bennett

In the third part of our State of the Celtics series, Jordan Crawford's style of the play is discussed after being named Player of the Week.

I never thought I would type these words: Boston Celtics guard Jordan Crawford has been named the NBA's Eastern Conference Player of the Week. Leading the Celtics to a 3-0 record, Crawford averaged 23.3 points on 61 percent shooting, to along with 6.7 assists, and 3.0 rebounds per game.

The 25-year-old Crawford has surprised many fans around the league and has arguably been the Celtics' MVP so far, especially with star point guard Rajon Rondo out with a torn-ACL.

Before the season, ESPN's Bill Simmons laughed at the thought of Crawford being a leader for the Celtics. After Crawford's 23-point performance against the Knicks, he tweeted Simmons with this:

"Steez" was right to do that, since he has seemingly taken his game to another level, proving all his doubters wrong. He is scoring at a far more efficient rate (shooting 46.4 percent to 40.2 percent the past three years), and he is passing the ball extremely well, averaging 5.4 assists to only 2.0 turnovers per game. And by all accounts, he has been nothing but a model teammate.

But despite his early-season success, it makes you wonder if this is actually a new Jordan Crawford.

For the third part of our "State of the Celtics" series, I asked our team of writers if Crawford's style of play is a good thing for Boston. Is he a sparkplug or is he a ballhog?

Here is how our CelticsBlog.com team responded:

wjsy:

The Celtics offense right now is an equal opportunity system. Everybody gets touches and everybody gets a chance to create offense. People will say that Jordan Crawford is acting as a de facto point guard with Rondo out, but frankly, he's one of the few players on the team that can break down his man and put pressure on defenses.

Because he has the ability to shoot from the inside and drive the paint with his hanging mid-range (anybody else see Rip Hamilton in his game?), he's a very valuable asset and that makes him more spark plug rather than ball hog. Sure, he's taken the occasional Steez-y shot, but his turnovers are down and he's averaging 7 assists per game since the team when on that six game losing streak.

Jeff Clark:

I'll preface this by saying it is good for the Celtics at this moment. Obviously what he's doing is good and it helps us in our current state. That said, he obviously doesn't fit in this role long term or even once Rondo returns. When he becomes a backup again and has the ball in his hands less, can he maintain this same level of competence? I'm not sure I'd label him a "ballhog" but I feel like he's one of those guys that loves having the ball in his hands. It makes him feel more comfortable passing because he knows he's getting it back

When he gets fewer touches, I wonder if that itch to shoot will be more concentrated when he finally gets the ball and you could get more Bad Steez than you'd like. With that said, I think he's still valuable providing instant offense when the offense stagnates. I just wouldn't trust him to take a much larger role than that.

Kevin O'Connor:

I'm the person who asked the question, but I don't know how to answer it. After four games of the preseason, I gave Jordan Crawford an "A" on my Preseason Progress Report Card. I said, "Who is this guy? After three NBA seasons of playing like a 'class clown,' Crawford has come in as a brand new player, showing a willingness to pass the ball, better decision making, as well as an improved jump shot. Consistency will be important going forward, because right now everything is working for him."

Much of the same can be said today. But I'm concerned, because if I had handed out a grade for the last four games of the preseason, Crawford probably would've failed. Steez went cold with his shot and he started turning the ball over more, and as a result of his lack of success on offense, I thought his effort on defense suffered. Could this happen now with Crawford? Sure, it could, which is why I'm not convinced that this is a brand new player, not yet at least. I won't let myself get tricked like I did in the preseason unless he continues to play this well for an extended period of time.

Master Po:

Jordan Crawford is indeed a sparkplug. So the answer to the first part of the question is "yes". I like sparkplugs - in the right engine. I like Jordan Crawford, and I certainly like him more each game he plays this season. Sparkplugs create the fire that ignites the compressed gas to make an engine run and he has done that for the Celtics - especially lately.

With that said, sparkplugs sometime misfire, which can cause the engine to run rough or not all. At the end of the day, with respect to NBA basketball, Jordan Crawford, and the Celtics, I would say sparkplugs should come off the bench. The sporadic "spark" Jordan can provide should come in the game when the offense is stalling, as opposed to being the starting PG. If the Celtics had more of a steady, calmer, more seasoned PG to replace the injured Rondo then I would vote for that PG to start as opposed to Crawford.

However, the Celtics don't have that person and Jordon Crawford is the best option as the starting PG we have right now. He is doing well and hopefully that performance level will continue. Is he a ballhog? To some degree, yes. He often dribbles too much, and he sometimes takes very ill-advised shots. Does Rondo dribble too much on occasion? Yes he does. However, Rondo is also an elite PG in this league with many more attributes than Crawford.

But again, Crawford has impressed me with his unique way of playing with Rondo not playing. Crawford reminds me of a young kid on a trampoline who really has some unique skills to really jump high, turn flips, and use all parts of the trampoline to make things happen. But he is also is the kid who is eventually going to flip himself off the trampoline and hurt himself or someone else. If we get to the playoffs Jordan Crawford will make me very nervous about the spark he may or may not provide while jumping on that trampoline turning flips.

wjsy:

But at least he's a sparkplug. On a team with more pistons than igniters, that's important. Let's not forget how abysmal the Celtics looked against the Knicks in the playoffs. Nobody could beat anybody off the dribble and the offense was stuck in neutral. Jeff, there might be some trust issues there, but he's been a dutiful soldier all year and there really hasn't been a hint that he might go AWOL. Crawford is in a contract year and I doubt he'll do anything to jeopardize a new deal in Boston or somewhere else.

Jeff Clark:

I'm very happy to see him doing so unexpectedly well. If he sticks around, that's fine with me as long as we aren't banking on him for too much. Still, I'd probably feel more comfortable "selling high" on him now and getting what we can for him on the market.

Master Po:

Well congrats to Jordan Crawford for being Player of the Week. A sparkplug indeed!! Not a big fan of all those deep threes, but hard to say anything when they are going in. Congrats to the Sparkplug Crawford.

Now I turn to the conversation to you, the readers. What do you think of Jordan Crawford's style of play? Is this player good or bad for the Celtics right now? How about in the long run? Let us know in the comment section below.

State of the Celtics: The Quarter Mark

Part 1: Too talented for a top pick?
Part 2: How good is Jeff Green?
Part 3: Crawford is Player of the Week!?

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