Just ask Boston Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge if he anticipates any moves coming before opening night and he'll tell you that there could be. Ainge said, "We have some work to do. We have a few too many guaranteed contracts . . . We have to make some adjustments, and we're very busy trying to put the best team on the court. But there could be some changes this summer, yes."
For the next couple of weeks I am going to ask one simple question about each player that could be on the block: Should the Boston Celtics keep or trade him before the start of the regular season?
In the second part of the "Keep Him or Trade Him" series, we are going to take a look at Jordan Crawford. He's a 24-year-old shooting guard that has been in the NBA for three years. Crawford was acquired by Boston from the Washington Wizards before the 2013 trade deadline; in only 27 games he averaged 9.1 points, 2.7 rebounds, and 2.5 assists per game. Crawford is still on his rookie contract and will earn $2,162,418 in 2013, and has a qualifying offer for just a hair over $3.2 million in 2014.
Why Keep Crawford?
Jordan Crawford has intangibles that every team could use off of their bench: versatility and a killer scoring-instinct. Crawford is a combo-guard and has proven throughout his career that he can play both the point and shooting guard positions. Last season Danny Ainge even called Crawford "potentially the best passer on the team." Despite lacking the necessary ball handling skills of a starting point guard, Crawford obviously has the intellect to back up at the position. He is a creative passer and knows how to drive to the basket and dish the ball to the perimeter.
The true reason Crawford has value is his scoring ability. He's not an elite shooter or driver but he is a true wild card that will steal wins for his team. If the Celtics are down ten, Crawford is the type of guy you put into the game and see if he can provide a spark to close the gap or take back the lead. After shooting 27.9 percent from three-point range in his first two years in the league, he improved to 33.7 percent this season. Even though that figure isn't very impressive, the development is a sign that he could continue to improve, and thus be more of a spark off the bench.
Why Trade Crawford?
Crawford can be a great scoring spark off the bench but he's a no-show more often than not. He's a career 40.2 percent shooter from the field, which is a mediocre number. The fact he doesn't excel in any category besides "energy" means he will be a liability to have on the floor because of his lack of ability on the defensive end.
Jordan Crawford brought energy with the Celtics last season but he still isn't very capable of playing defense at a high level. With the Wizards his struggles with perimeter defense was the most critiqued aspect of his game. Even though he hustled on defense with the C's, I wonder if he would put in that same level of effort this coming season. I'm not convinced that he has the skills to play at an efficient level defensively even if he does.
After acquiring MarShon Brooks from the Brooklyn Nets, having Crawford is redundant. Both players have a very similar style but Brooks has less experience in the NBA and has already proven to be a better player. However, trading Jordan Crawford probably wouldn't net you much at all in return considering the C's acquired him for only center Jason Collins and injured guard Leonardo Barbosa. It wouldn't surprise me if Crawford only got the Celtics a second round pick many years from now.
What Would I Do?
When the Celtics acquired Jordan Crawford I liked the trade...only because Leonardo Barbosa was injured and the C's didn't really need Jason Collins at that point. That doesn't mean I like Jordan Crawford -- I don't -- I never liked him in Washington and I'm really not a fan of his style of play. I think his "spark" off the bench is more or less a consistently sloppy style of play that works sparingly. So, yes, I would trade him...for nothing. The Boston Celtics need to cut down on their guards and he is the one I'd want out first.
What would you do? Vote on the poll, comment below, and tweet me @Kevin__OConnor with your thoughts.
Keep Him or Trade Him:
Brandon Bass | Jordan Crawford