How much would Jamal Crawford help the Bulls?

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.

Filed under: Players

Tags: chicago bulls, Jamal Crawford, nba


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  • No way would I want Crawford on the Bulls. You mentioned most of the reasons why.

    But the most important reason to me, and I think some fans forget this, is that we still have Ronnie Brewer. I don't think he's the long term solution, but I think we saw when he was healthy that he was a nice fit on this team. I'd like to see what he could do if Thibs smartened up and inserted him in the starting lineup (still can't believe Bogans started the entire season and playoffs).

    Worst case scenario he'll just hold the fort down until we find someone that can really fill that scoring/shooter role.

  • In reply to Juiceboxjerry:

    I agree with this. I like Brewer too, and he does a lot of things well - many of those things that don't really show up in the box score. But he's a very limited shooter and cannot create his own shot, so again I agree with Jerry that he's not the long term solution.

    As for Crawford, it's not a case where he "hasn't been known to play a lot of defense", he just doesn't play any defense. I've heard him described as being the "worst defender in NBA history" and while that's clearly hyperbolic, it's true that Crawford is the undesirable combo of being both a bad defender (like Gordon) and also a disinterested defender. Perhaps the Bulls' and Thibs' culture would change that somewhat, but being 31 I wouldn't count on it.

    At best, Crawford is a 2nd unit offensive player. Start Brewer, and then bring in Crawford with Watson or whoever. But that doesn't really solve the Bulls' biggest weaknesses of outside shooting and playmaking.

    The problem, as Doug alluded to, is that there just really isn't anything out there to get at the SG position that would be a "game changer".

  • His skill set suits us, sure, but Crawford is fool's gold. He'll give you one smashing 20 point performance and then three straight where he's a non-factor. This is who he was in a Bulls uni and even who he was in the playoffs against the Bulls this past spring.

  • As a Heat fan, I hope the Bulls don't get Jamaal Crawford, because he's still an excellent offensive player. If he played good defense, he'd be out of the Bulls price range. He can also create for his teammates. Besides Rose, nobody on the current Bulls roster does that. 3 years at the MLE would be just about right. Again, I hope it doesn't happen.

  • not much. hes an average player who will get worse every year. he adds a little bit to the bulls depth by being average and by having one skill in demand (dribbling), but thats probably not enough to make a real difference.

  • Crawford gives us a little bit better offense but compromises our defense. He is not a starter, we need a two way player that can start. We've seen two of our highly paid Bigs in Boozer and Noah sitting on the bench late in game because they were playing poor defense. The Bulls need to be bold, make a trade for a younger player that can grow with Rose and learn the hard nosed smackdown thibodeau defense. If the trade market is not feasible, they have to go for an older two way player like anthony parker? or someone who is committed to playing defense especially since we have one of our highly prized starters who doesn't D up. Teams would be having layup drills on us all day long. Thibodeau's hair would instantly turn greyish white over night.

  • PER, Win Shares/48, and the eye test all say that Richardson and Smith are both much better than Crawford. I would take him, but only as a last resort.

    If there's a soft cap, I think the Bulls have to go hard after Nick Young, even if it means overpaying a bit. He has said he's not giving a hometown discount, and the Wizards fans on Bullets Forever are ambivalent about bringing him back and don't want their team to overpay for him. If WAS management agrees, and if GarPaxDorf are ready to put their money where their mouth is, I think he can be had.

    I'd also look to trade for Kevin Martin, Courtney Lee, or Mayo, and buyout/amnesty guys like Rip Hamilton and possibly Joe Johnson before Crawford.

    Regardless of what they do at SG, I also want them to go after Grant Hill or Shane Battier to give Lu a real back up and provide some veteran savvy/ringchaser hunger.

  • Jamal is not the answer. He could become the next Carlos Boozer. I think the Bulls either keep Bogans or use the trade path. If we go through a trade it could cost us a Big.

  • Ronnie Brewer was playing good ball, and hitting his shots towards the end of the season, but once again he gets injured. He's just too injury prone it seems to be the answer even short term/for one season. Most if not all of the suggested upgrades are either attitude problems i.e not winners, or past thier prime entering their downfall years.

    Derrick needs a second star period. As poorly as Noah has played shooting percentage wise(playoffs/Euro) I'm wondering just how far his value/effectiveness has fallen. Can he come back from the injuries or whatever else has him stymied?

    If they stick with Noah, and Asik can translate into a legit SG who's also not an attitude problem C.Lee(??) maybe you can't afford the luxury of two non-scoring/offensive factor bigs. I'm really much more concerned about Joakim's steep decline(and what might be causing this if not just injuries since he keeps playing) then I am about SG or additions. If Jo doesn't rebound(pun not intended) from his funk then I think the Bulls are screwed even if Derrick regains his shooting stroke, and they find a C.Lee/marginal upgrade.

  • 2 questions Doug:
    1) How much could Grant Hill help for 1 year playing the 2?
    2) What would happen to the draft this June in the season is cancelled?

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