Jordan Crawford is back in red, white and blue -- the same color scheme that he wore with the Atlanta Hawks before getting traded to Washington in late February -- and said this week that he was impressed with the Wizards’ new retro look the moment he and the rest of the team got a sneak peak near the end of the regular season.
But Crawford kept the festivities on Tuesday in perspective, realizing that a new look will only rally fans around the team but for so long. “I don’t think anything really matter until we show them what we do during the season,” he said. “I think then [the fans] will get very excited, more excited about us competing and trying to win games than these new uniforms.”
Crawford has been back to Atlanta a few times since the season ended to catch his former team in the postseason. Being in a playoff atmosphere at a louder than usual Philips Arena, and watching his best friend on the team, Jeff Teague, experience a coming-out party against the Chicago Bulls, has had an affect on Crawford.
“Makes you thirsty for it. It’s a great time to chill and watch the game, but you want to be a part of it,” Crawford said this week. “It just builds that hunger. And that’s the thing you need to survive, when you’re getting paid to do this, is find things to motivate you for next season.”
After sharing a spot on the bench next to Crawford for much of the first half of the season, Teague has taken advantage of Kirk Hinrich’s hamstring injury and emerged as the Hawks’ most consistent player against the top-seeded Bulls. He’s averaging 17 points and 4.4 assists in 41.4 minutes, and has scored 21 points in three of the past four games. Teague has made league MVP Derrick Rose become more a volume shooter and also been incredibly steady, with just five turnovers in the five games.
“I seen it all along really,” said Crawford, who agreed with Teague’s comments last week that the trade deadline deal with the Wizards may have best for their respective careers. “It was hard to leave my man like that, but I feel there is a time for everything. It gave me an opportunity. I’m happy. I talk to him about it all the time.”
The Wizards have considerable upgrades to make before they can become a playoff team again -- and that means not just getting new uniforms but better players to wear them. They will have a better idea about their draft position at the lottery in Secaucus, N.J., next Tuesday, but Crawford said that he would spend this offseason trying to improve as well.
“I think the main thing with me is my strength,” Crawford said. “I feel like I’m strong but not for NBA two-guards. I’ve got to get stronger and get my stamina up. Strength and stamina are probably the two most important things to my game.”