Jamal Crawford’s slick crossover has made him one of the NBA’s best sixth men and a fan favorite.
Though it’s probably not time to bid Crawford’s handles adieu, you might not see them as often this season.
Doc Rivers’ preferred offense includes more passing and less isolation, and that means a guard like Crawford will spend a lot of time using off-ball screens rather than breaking down a defender.
Rivers already has been impressed by Crawford after just three days of training camp.
“He’s terrific coming off the picks without the ball,” Rivers said. “He really is good. He’s a catch-and-shoot guy as well, and I didn’t know that and now I know.”
In many ways, Crawford says that running off screens just gives him more scoring options. “It’s totally different, for sure,” he said. “I think it’s an added part in my game and everybody’s else’s game too.”
Crawford ranked 27th in the NBA last season on isolation plays, according to MySynergySports, scoring .95 points per play. That was his highest ranking among all play types.
But he scored more points per play on spot-ups (1.16) and off screens (1.01), which is why Rivers wants to change Crawford’s role. Good ball movement leads to better scoring opportunities, even when not done as well – relatively – as one-on-one play.
Some players who are good at isolation can’t successfully transition to off the ball, but it sounds like Crawford can, and the Clippers should be better for it. Crawford will still have his crossover in his arsenal if he needs to make a play himself late in the shot clock, too.