Washington Wizards shooting guard Jordan Crawford may have had the line of the afternoon when asked about his reputation as a gunner during Monday’s media day at Verizon Center shortly before the team reported to training camp.
“If you go in an arena with eight players, who else is gonna shoot?” Crawford said in reference to the Wizards’ myriad injuries last season.
Crawford certainly has not been shy about shooting, finishing second on the team in overall field goal attempts (872) and third in scoring at 14.7 points per game. He also led the Wizards in field goal attempts per game (13.6), just barely ahead of point guard John Wall.
With Wall sidelined for eight weeks with a stress injury in his left patella, last year’s leading scorer, Nick Young, playing elsewhere and starting center Nene out indefinitely with plantar fasciitis, the Wizards figure to lean on Crawford for scoring, particularly in the early portion of the season.
He’s taken that responsibility to heart in the first few days of training camp at George Mason University, so much so that Coach Randy Wittman made sure to mention how much the third-year player has stood out in practice.
“It’s the three best in a row [from Crawford] that I’ve ever seen,” Wittman said. “So that’s a testament to him. Like I said, he had I think probably one of the better summers of anyone on our team in terms of his growth and understanding of me and the things that he’s going to have to do to take that next step.”
Shot selection is near the top of the list. Among the team’s top five scorers last season, Crawford’s field goal percentage (.400) was the lowest. He shot just 29 percent from three-point range as well.
As one of the more experienced players on a youthful team, Crawford also addressed becoming more of a leader in the locker room and on the court, especially while Wall is on the mend. He didn’t rule out becoming more of a facilitator either and perhaps playing some point guard.
“I’ve kind of got the natural ability to lead in the locker room,” Crawford said. “People kind of look up to me and gravitate to me, so I’m excited to be kind of like a veteran to the team.”