The addition of two new point guards meant that Jordan Crawford’s experimentation at that position was likely over, but the shooting guard nevertheless cost himself a starting job in the back court against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday when he showed up late for the morning shootaround.
Crawford deflected a question about his tardiness, then responded to another inquiry about oversleeping with, “I didn’t think about that.” Later, when asked if he understood why Coach Randy Wittman benched him to start newly-signed Shelvin Mack instead, Crawford grinned and nodded without offering an answer.
Crawford had started the previous eight games before getting demoted, averaging 18.3 points, 6.4 assists and 5.5 rebounds in those contests. Serving as backup shooting guard for the first time since A.J. Price went down with a broken hand on Dec. 8, Crawford still managed to come off the bench and matched Emeka Okafor with a team-high 17 points in the Wizards’ 87-84 loss to the Cavaliers.
Crawford, 24, said he isn’t concerned with how Wittman uses him. “I go out there and try to do what I can do. I’m most comfortable just being on the floor.”
Crawford is familiar with Mack and dubbed him “a huge asset to the team” but added that he didn’t know if the team was sending him a message when it signed Mack and Garrett Temple from the NBA Developmental League to help with a sputtering offense.
“I keep on moving,” Crawford said. “I ain’t tripping over it.”
With Bradley Beal dragging against Cleveland and playing his worst game of the month, Wittman went with the more aggressive Crawford for the entire fourth quarter.
Crawford scored half of the Wizards’ 16 points in the period and gave the team a 79-73 lead with an off-balance fallaway jumper. But he also missed his last four attempts, including a potential tying three-pointer as time expired.
The Wizards (3-23) have lost eight in a row, including their past four games against teams with losing records.
“We should get wins but when you’re stuck on losing you kind of find ways to lose,” said Crawford, the Wizards’ leading scorer at 15.5 points per game. “That’s what we’re doing right now, we’re kind of finding ways even though we shouldn’t. It’s just confidence. It goes up and down. We have good games, bad games. It affects other people longer. It’s an NBA season.”
Crawford said he would continue to keep the faith that the Wizards will have a breakthrough.
“You definitely got to love the game and want to play,” he said. “That’s what’s going to get you through, and everybody just staying together.”