Jordan Crawford and John Wall ended the final weeks of the season setting rookie records, sharing ball-handling duties, taking turns going on scoring binges, and raising expectations for their future in the Wizards backcourt. Crawford and Wall have both been training at 360 Health Club in Reseda, Calif., this summer but they haven’t been focused on developing chemistry by sharing the backcourt in the pickup games. They’ve mostly been working on making each other better — by battling one-on-one.
“We check each other, pretty much the whole time,” Crawford said in a recent telephone interview. “We always going at it. If he get a bucket, I’m going to get a bucket right back. Or I’m going to try to stop him. We lift, and really just [play] one-on-one, two-on-two, three-on-three, five-on-five, just competing all the time really.”
Since the duo served as the Wizards’ new uniform models three months ago, Wall has been bouncing around the country, playing in pro-am leagues and charity games, while Crawford has maintained a relatively low profile. Crawford participated in Dwight Howard’s celebrity game in Atlanta, but he avoided the summer league circuit after showing up to play in a Drew League game and leaving after the team was too stacked with NBA players. He didn’t bother going back.
But just because Crawford hasn’t been overly visible doesn’t mean that he hasn’t been working hard to get prepared for whenever next season begins. Crawford has been in Los Angeles for most of the summer, hanging out with older brother, Joe, and working out with fellow NBA players Wall, Nick Young, Paul George, Jeff Adrien, Danny Granger and Dahntay Jones.
“I’m really the type, if I get me a spot and a comfortable situation, I really just cool out or work out wherever I’m at,” Crawford said, explaining why he has spent most of his time in Los Angeles with occasional trips home to Detroit. “I’m just working out, relaxing, really, having a good time.”
In addition to battling on the court, Crawford said he and Wall have also hung out socially in Los Angeles. “It’s fun just getting to know each other off the court, too. Not just around the coaches and the team, just having a different vibe,” he said.
Crawford’s fearless forays and unconscious shots during his two-month stint with the Wizards spoke to his confidence and competitive drive -- and he has no desire to lose that edge, with the NBA lockout appearing to cut into the regular season schedule.
“I’m just anxious to show D.C. what could really be done, or what we’ve really got. Or what I can really bring to the team. That’s why I’m really upset that it might not start on time, just for that reason,” Crawford said. “Last summer, it was more focused on getting drafted and trying to impress that team. Now I feel more like an offseason. The [Wizards expect] me to come back with even more than I did last year and I’m expecting the same thing, so that’s pretty much how it is right now.”
“It’s not really a clear vision it’s going to start on time,” Crawford said of the season. “I would like it, love it, if it happens. But I’m going to keep my eye on it, see what happens, and just focus on getting in the best condition that I can. I’ve been talking to my agent about different things. But I’m really just focusing on the NBA and hoping the lockout gets done.”
Crawford has had to play the waiting game for much of his basketball career, and the prospect of having a delay to his sophomore NBA season does have him thinking about other alternatives. He said that he’d like to see the players establish their own league, “just to show that we can just keep basketball going.” He said he would be open to participating in trainer Joe Abunassar’s Impact Training Competitive Basketball Series, in Las Vegas. Wall has already committed to play in the training sessions, which begin next Monday.
Crawford’s brother, Joe, a former second-round pick of the Los Angeles Lakers, left last week to play for Maccabi Rishon Le-Zion in Israel. Joe Crawford has also played for the Beijing Ducks of the Chinese Basketball Association and tried to convince Jordan to consider playing overseas if the lockout doesn’t appear to be close to any resolution.
“He’s told me a couple of things,” Crawford said of his brother. “He’s the one that started with, ‘You should really look into it and see what it is.’ He thinks I should make that move if it lasts long. He said, it’s different culturally, but there really isn’t much he could tell me without me experiencing it myself. I know I’d have to go see it for myself. . . . We’ve been looking into, seeing what the options is, but it’s a lot that goes into it, like your contact with your current team, but I have my eye on overseas, too.”
For now, Crawford will continue to work out in Los Angeles, fine tune some new moves and play with aggression. “That’s my main thing – going at people, then try to lock ’em up, too,” he said. “That’s what I’ve been focusing on the most. Staying in shape, and staying focused. Yeah, I’ve been focusing on the defensive end a lot, and quick moves with the ball when I’ve got it. I’m really just going at people. Just really attacking people.”