Miami Heat v Atlanta Hawks

Jamal Crawford is in a contract year and that’s a bad thing.

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Often, guys have record years when they are playing for a new contract (or at least they are more aggressive and take more shots, so their point total goes up).

It is having the opposite impact on Jamal Crawford.

Cawford this season has not been the same guy who won the Sixth Man of the Year award going away last season. His shooting percentage has dropped from 45 percent to 41 percent, and on three balls from 38 percent to 30 percent. He is rebounding less, turning the ball over more, his PER dropped from an All-Star level 18.4 down to a below average 13.9. He’s not the same.

When asked why he gave a very interesting answer to FanHouse — he’s distracted by not having a contract extension.

“I’m overthinking,” Crawford said in an interview with FanHouse before Monday’s home game against Boston. “I think with everything going on, I’m just thinking too much and not just playing basketball. … I’d be lying if I said it hasn’t crossed my mind, you know, the future. … Everything’s been a little bit of a distraction.”

Crawford had pushed for a contract extension before, like a lot of guys have going into this CBA, but the lack of one seems to have him unsettled now. It hasn’t impacted the Hawks too much so far, but if they are going to take the steps forward management wants from them Crawford is going to have to be a part of that because he is playing better. And that kind of play might get him the contract he wants.

Khris Middleton dunks, Jimmy Butler can’t stop him (VIDEO)

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Khris Middleton has more expectations and more pressure on him after a breakout season in Milwaukee, followed by him getting him PAID this summer.

Well, he looked pretty good on this play against the Bulls, making the steal then throwing down despite Jimmy Butler‘s efforts to stop him.

Middleton finished with 10 points on 5-of-7 shooting for the Bucks. However, Butler had the last laugh as he went off for 23 points on 12 shots and led the Bulls to the (meaningless) preseason win.

Somebody looks comfortable: Paul George drops 20 in first quarter

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Paul George‘s first experience starting as a power forward was going up against Anthony Davis — not just one of the best power forwards in the game, one of the handful of best players in the game period. That didn’t go well for George, and he wasn’t happy about it.

His second experience was in another preseason game Tuesday, going up against the Pistons and their four, Ersan İlyasova. He’s not quite as intimidating.

George scored 20 points on 7-of-8 shooting, 4-of-5 on threes — and that was just the first quarter (you can see it all in the video above).

As we have said before, George at the four is not a bad call by the Pacers, but some of that depends on the matchup. On the nights the Pacers face Davis or Blake Griffin or LaMarcus Aldridge or Zach Randolph (or a handful of others) the Pacers’ coaching staff is going to have to adjust. But there are a lot of nights where George at the four is going to force the other team to adjust, and that will play into the Pacers’ hands.