Former Wizards guard Jordan Crawford named Eastern Conference player of the week

December 9, 2013

What? You all didn’t realize I could play? (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

The Wizards thought so little of Jordan Crawford that they traded him to Boston last February for two veterans who contributed a total of four points, eight rebounds, four blocks, two assists and 11 personal fouls in six games. The night of the deal, which landed Jason Collins and the injured Leandro Barbosa, Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld declared that Crawford  “did not fit into our current plans… or our future plans.”

Ten months later, Crawford is thriving with the Celtics and was named Eastern Conference player of the week after averaging 23.3 points on 61 percent shooting with 6.7 assists and 3.0 rebounds in leading his first-place team to a 3-0 record. Crawford also connected on 12 of 23 shots three-point range, including a career-high six in a 114-73 victory over the New York Knicks.

Regarded as a gunner with a questionable shot selection with the Wizards, Crawford has had three games this season with 10 assists and recorded a triple-double with 11 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists in a win over Cleveland. He has scored at least 20 points five times and is averaging 13.9 points on a career-high 46.4 percent shooting for the surprising Celtics, who currently sit atop the anemic Atlantic Division at 10-12.

“I mean, it’s the NBA,” Crawford recently told the Boston Globe. “You don’t know how things are going to shake out. You’ve just got to take it for what it is. Lucky I got an opportunity. Taking advantage of it.”

Washington got rid of Crawford, believing that he had become a distraction after he didn’t get the bigger role he desired in a backcourt that featured John Wall and Bradley Beal. Coach Randy Wittman said on Monday that the team shouldn’t view dealing Crawford as a missed opportunity.

“It was the right situation for us to do with Bradley being where he was. I think [Crawford] was not accustomed to wanting to play off the bench, and we felt that Bradley was the guy we were going forward with. And now [Crawford is] in a situation where he’s starting again,” Wittman said. “You can’t look back like that. You always have to look forward. You can’t undo things like that, even if you wanted to undo it, so why worry. I don’t ever try to let myself go ‘Geez, why did we do that?’ Because you can’t undo any of that. Hey, we all know what Bradley can become and who he is right now, and we’re real pleased with that.”

Crawford got little playing time last season in Boston, where the team had higher expectations and many of the core players from a championship team. But with Rajon Rondo’s knee injury providing the opportunity for more playing and rookie coach in Brad Stevens putting the ball in his hands, Crawford has been given the freedom to improvise and make plays as he always wanted.

Crawford said last April that he didn’t feel appreciated in Washington.

“It ain’t people that hold you back and hate on you for no reason,” Crawford said when asked about being in Boston. “I’m around better people. People that, when they see talent, they appreciate it and they try to work you in. They accept real people around here.”

Michael Lee is the national basketball writer for The Washington Post.
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Michael Lee · December 9, 2013