Nick Young and Aaron Afflalo are restricted. J.J. Smith is stuck in China. Jason Richardson might get a better offer from Orlando to appease Dwight Howard. If those players are unavailable, Jamal Crawford might be the best free agent shooting guard on the market that's actually obtainable.
It's a surprising thought, especially given I haven't spoken of Crawford much [or really at all] this off-season. I guess I can't get past the fact that replacing Jamal Crawford with Ben Gordon [whom everyone seems to think sucks balls] was probably the most important in a series of moves that swung the Bulls record by 24 games the next season.
Crawford had somewhat of a breakout season for the Atlanta Hawks two seasons ago shooting 44.9% from the field and 38.4% from beyond the arc. No, that's not a typo, those were numbers well above his career averages of 41% and 35% and constituted an "awesome" season in which he won sixth man of the year.
Those numbers dropped back down closer to his career marks last season [42.6% and 34.1%], and there's very little reason to expect those numbers to rise up again if he comes back to Chicago. If we land Crawford expect relatively inefficient volume scoring. He'll score a bunch of points but take a bunch of shots to do it. His career TS% of 52.6% backs that up.
Now the Bulls could probably use a volume shot creator, and while they'd love one that's also really efficient, those guys are pretty darn expensive and difficult to get. As such, I don't want to make it sound like Crawford is worthless. Even a TS% of 52.6% but largely off shots he can create himself, would help this offense tremendously from the second unit.
Crawford also has some other strengths. He can swing between the point guard and shooting guard positions, and he'd certainly be a nice hedge against a Rose injury even if he's not playing any backup PG in the regular rotation. He creates his own shot, is an excellent ball handler, and has decent court vision for good court vision for a shooting guard.
On the downside, in addition to pedestrian offensive efficiency, Crawford hasn't been known to play a whole lot of defense. He has size, but he may as well not have size, because he doesn't really use it effectively on either end of the court.
Crawford turned 31 in March, so the Bulls have to hope to get him on a three year deal, but given his last two seasons, he strikes me as a fool's gold player that some moron GM steps up and John Salmons him to get him to go there. [A reference, to Milwaukee signing Salmons for 38 million after he played well for half a season and already looks like an epic fail, let's be glad the Bulls didn't have to make a decision on him after half a season or that could have been us].
Now if Crawford could come back as the #1 and re-inflate the value of my autographed Crawford jersey, I might change my tune, but I don't think Derrick Rose is giving up the number, so even that's a bust.
It's hard for me to look at Jamal and think he really changes the picture for us, and when you stop and realize that he's probably as good as Richardson or Smith that's a big buck of cold water thrown on your excitement for improvements this off-season which is probably why I've been scared to let my brain think about him all summer.