“I don’t tell nobody, but I feel like I can be better than Michael Jordan.”
There really aren’t many players who would think of uttering those words. If anything, people might expect a comment of that volume from someone like LeBron James, Kobe Bryant or Kevin Durant, who have put up numbers to back the statement up.
Well, that quote didn't come from any of them. And the man who said it was neither a high school phenom nor a lottery pick caliber player. Fans may recognize his name from when he dunked on LeBron in a camp run by James and Nike in 2009. But other than that, he's not really mentioned often.
He's Jordan Crawford. And he made this statement back when he called Washington his home. Since, he's made Boston his place of business, and was named the Eastern Conference Player of the Week from December 2-8.
While he may have thought he was worthy of being a conference player of the week at some point during his career, it’s safe to say most didn't feel the same way
Since December 3rd, he has averaged 21.0 PPG, 6.6 APG, and is shooting 46.9% from behind the arc, while posting 52.8% from the floor. Furthermore, he has dropped 20-plus points on his opponents in 6 of his last 11 games. Crawford has been able to fit into coach Brad Stevens plans and has consistently been the second-highest scorer on the team throughout the season, averaging 14.2 PPG, only trailing Jeff Green’s 17.3, and leading the Celtics with 5.5 APG.
New York Negligence
Tonight he'll face off against the disappointing Knicks. Crawford will be playing against both Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith, who have struggled throughout the season.
Shumpert has started in every game this season and continues to display his scoring struggles, as he's only averaging 6.9 PPG, with a season high of 17. All told, his PER is 10.74, 4.26 below the league average, so his lack of production is not only hurting his team, but he has also been less efficient than the league’s average player.
While Shumpert’s production has been lackluster through the 2013-2014 campaign, his backup, Smith, has hurt the team even more.
Smith is averaging 11.1 PPG, but his PER is an alarming 9.11. Smith is only shooting 34.4% from the floor, and is only adding 3.4 RPG, 2.0 APG and 1 SPG. Among the 324 qualifying players in the league, he ranks 272 and Shumpert is 235.
JC > IMAN + J.R.
Shumpert has remained consistently inefficient, but Smith was 67th in the league last year in PER at 17.67, while averaging over 18 PPG. The two will hope to shut down Crawford, who is 39th most efficient player in the NBA and is the fifth most efficient shooting guard. The former Xavier Musketeer has seen his PER jump from last year’s 13.82 to 19.61.
Furthermore, Crawford’s nERD ranking is far superior to both his counterparts in tonight’s matchup at the Garden. While the former Wizard is 29th in the league at 6.6, Shumpert is just below the league average at -2.3. Smith, however, is the worst on the team in this category at a horrific -8.5. Smith has been known for his scoring ability throughout his career, but this year he is shooting a career low in field goal percentage and is averaging his lowest points per game total since his first two seasons in the NBA.
Crawford is coming off of a 20-point performance, where he also dished out nine dimes against the Clippers. With the boys from Beantown already having blown them out last Sunday at Madison Square Garden, the Knicks have not shown any signs of improvement. Although the Celtics are in the middle of a two-game skid, Crawford should continue to shine as the Knicks have allowed their opponents to score over 100 points in half of their last 14 games, and have only scored over 100 three times, bottoming out at 73 against none other than the Celtics.