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Why is Jamal Crawford being benched?

By 02.27.09
Jamal CrawfordJamal Crawford (photo. Reebok)

Anybody who’s followed Don Nelson over the years shouldn’t be surprised anymore by his personnel decisions. Just ask Anthony Morrow: The rags-to-kinda-riches rookie has been a starter dropped 20-plus points and a barely-used backup this season, sometimes going back and forth in the course of a week.

But Nellie’s latest move — benching a healthty Jamal Crawford for no apparent reason — seems even weird for him. Crawford’s agent, Aaron Goodwin, took the issue to the San Francisco Chronicle before tonight’s Warriors/Bobcats game:

“What is the message that Nelson is sending to a young team? ‘Don’t play to win?'” Goodwin said. “What is the message he is sending to the fans who work hard to pay for Warriors tickets in order to see them win?

“Jamal is not injured, and not only is he averaging 19 points per game, but he scored 50 points on the (Bobcats) for a win earlier this season.”

Nelson announced this week that he will begin resting his veterans “here and there” in an effort to give the team’s youngsters more playing time, but the coach also said it would be difficult to sit out Stephen Jackson because the Warriors were thin at small forward.

It’s been a foregone conclusion that the Warriors are headed for the Lottery, so in a way it makes sense to work on developing guys like Marco Belinelli, C.J. Watson and Anthony Randolph. But it’s not like Crawford is a creaky vet taking up space. He turns 29 next month, and the team has said they want Crawford to be part of its future backcourt alongside Monta Ellis. Looking to the future is one thing, but you still want to at least try to win games. And not to mention, Crawford supposedly is part of Golden State’s future, so who’s really suffering here?

Then again, since Crawford can opt out of his deal and become a free agent this summer, maybe Nellie is working in the interest of whoever is cutting JC’s checks. There’s no better way to alienate a highly-paid star who’s playing in a system that’s perfect for him and convince him to leave than to piss him off by not playing him. Baron Davis can relate.

Source: San Francisco Chronicle


TAGSDimeMagDon NelsonGolden StateJamal CrawfordWARRIORS

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