More good stuff from Sports Illustrated’s Zach Lowe:
Jamal Crawford is a confounding player. He has a fairly high-profile, takes the sort of difficult crunch-time jumpers that make highlight reels and just looks the part of a dynamic NBA player. LeBron James and LaMarcus Aldridge have both recruited Crawford, an impending free agent, via Twitter the last few days. He’s a popular guy around the league, is thoughtful and honest, and star players are clamoring to be his teammate…
…Crawford is, by any measure, a borderline inefficient scorer who gets lost too easily on defense — both on and off the ball. And he’s nearly 32 years old. Should all these teams really be chasing him?
As Lowe points out, the NBA’s all-time leader in 4-point plays is a jump shooter who prefers to work in isolation as much or more than the NBA’s best guards and wings, not particularly adept at getting to the basket or a lights-out catch-and-shoot guy, and a borderline liability on defense. And yet he’d be in high demand if there was an actual free agency period happening right now.
It’s certainly tempting to imagine Crawford coming off the bench and providing a scoring jolt to a contender right at the moment they need it most in a playoff series, but it’s equally easy to imagine Crawford making far more money than he deserves and shooting his team out of a key game as his more talented teammates watch with looks of bewilderment on their faces. Crawford isn’t good enough to be a key piece of a team, but he’s done enough to demand a significant price tag in free agency — it’ll be interesting to see where he ends up after an up-and-down 1st decade in the NBA.
Any controversy over C.J. McCollum‘s suspension for the season-opener should be put to rest. The Trail Blazers fared fine without him.
More than fine.
Portland beat the Suns, 124-76, Wednesday. The 48-point margin is the largest ever in a season opener, even as the Trail Blazers let a 58-point fourth-quarter lead dwindle.
Here are the most lopsided season-openers in NBA history (openers for both teams appearing twice):
The 48-point defeat is also the Suns’ worst lost in franchise history, topping a 44-point loss to the Seattle SuperSonics in 1988. It could be a long year in Phoenix.
Marcus Smart and Matthew Dellavedova thrive on aggravating opponents, so when matched up, of course they aggravated each other.
Deduct points from Smart for pulling the hold-me-back charade behind a referee. Plus, Dellavedova’s Bucks beat Smart’s Celtics, 108-100.
The Nets’ projected record this season came under greater scrutiny when the Celtics traded Brooklyn’s unprotected first-round pick to the Cavaliers in the Kyrie Irving trade. After finishing third-to-last and last the previous two years, were the Nets poised to take a step forward, or would they convey a very high pick to the Cavs?
Jeremy Lin, who missed 46 games last season, getting healthy was a reason for optimism in Brooklyn and pessimism in Cleveland. But it appears the veteran guard could be out a while.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
Billy Reinhardt of Nets Daily:
If the injury is as bad as feared, what a bummer for Lin. He came to Brooklyn expecting to play a leading role on a developing team, and he just can’t stay healthy.
The Nets were probably more focused on developing their younger players, but – especially without their own draft picks – there was no harm in shooting for the playoffs. This appears to a blow to that (already unlikely) dream.
It’s a boon to the Cavaliers, though. And whenever something significantly affects LeBron James‘ team, it has ramifications into the entire power dynamic of the Eastern Conference. For an injury to a player on a team most expect to be bad, the medical developments here will be tracked closely around the league.
Remember when Aaron Gordon was a promising fun player?
The Magic sidetracked him by playing him at small forward most of last season. But back at power forward, Gordon showed how he could push the pace as a four in Orlando’s season-opening win over the Heat.
There’s obviously flair in passing to yourself off the backboard, but it’s a sound way to improve position. Gordon did that to fantastic effect.