By Joshua M Hicks (@jhicks042)
The NBA off-season has long been a fireworks show, and this off-season definitely lived up the hype.
With multiple big time players making transitions to the next chapters of their lives, whether through switching teams via free agency/trade or simply walking away from the game after dedicating so many years to the court on its biggest stages, NBA heads have certainly gotten enough to satiate themselves through the summer months.
Typically, a big move or signing or two makes it past the busy month of July to re-awaken the off-season in August or even September, the Rockets and Suns tried but no one else has. The biggest basketball news of late has centered around injuries and surgeries, such as the one this week that Russell Westbrook will go through on his knee.
It may be hard to convince those who only wanted to know where the likes of LeBron Boogie Cousins were going in free agency, but some quality talent still exists in this year’s crop of the unsigned. Headlining that list as we get closer and closer to October and the opening of camps league-wide is one of the game’s most explosive offensive threats and one of its best Sixth-men of all time: Jamal Crawford.
Recently on ESPN’s “The Jump,” NBA insider Marc J. Spears said the Warriors, Lakers and Sixers have all expressed interest in Crawford, but Crawford has replied his state in free agency talks as “nothing yet.” Crawford deserves to play for a contender and he would excel on each team, especially with the Sixers.
J-Crossover has always been a special talent to watch since entering the league as the 8th overall pick in the 2000 NBA Draft. Featuring the ability to score the ball anywhere on the court and create his own shot, especially in clutch moments down the stretch, Crawford carries career stats of 15 points and 3 assists a game on 41 percent shooting and 35% from three. The 17-year Seattle legend still has a lot of game left in the tank to play with and each of these top-tier franchises are in desperate need of his services:
Already stacked with All-Star caliber players, especially with the addition of DeMarcus Cousins to pair with the big All-Star lineup of Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, the Warriors could still use some bench depth on the guard position, especially with the departure of Nick Young.
Having a combination guard like Crawford who can score but also run the point and putting him with Boogie Cousins in the pick and roll would be a nightmare for defenses to guard, especially second-team defenses. As an upgraded threat to have in the Warriors arsenal Crawford would have plenty of opportunity to thrive while having a very high chance of adding that elusive championship he deserves to his already impressive resume.
Los Angeles Lakers
Another good California option for Crawford for quite different reasons — the revamped, LeBron-led Lakers lack consistent play-makers beyond their new king and pickup Lance Stephenson.
Outside of Stephenson there are not many guards that can create their own shot, especially coming off the Lake Show’s bench. Adding Crawford to the second unit would open up options for coach Luke Walton to not just combo Crawford with non-shooters like Rajon Rondo or Lonzo Ball, but also exploit the deadly option of a pick and roll offense with LeBron James.
Playing in LA opens up the doors to playing with the best player in the world and playing along side the King will not just make life on the court easier for Crawford, but it will give him the exposure needed for his game to flourish and give you the best chances to compete for a NBA title without being labeled a band-wagoner.
The Sixers are the most ideal option for Crawford because they lack playmakers off the bench. With the departure of Marco Belinelli, you lose the extra dimension he offers, along with JJ Redick, to come off screens and create your own shots.
Crawford would be a good compliment in shifts with Ben Simmons as well to the point where he would be able to focus on scoring the ball and work on the pick and roll game with Joel Embiid. Not to mention the path to the Finals would be much easier for J-Crossover in the Eastern Conference than it would be in the Western Conference.
Crawford has quality options and he deserves to be on a team that can contend for a championship. These three teams fit the bill, and I hope one of them creates or utilizes the space in their salary to make him the offer.
Joshua M. Hicks is the lead columnist of WARR