Chances are good that the first time many heard of Jordan Crawford, it was because of a tape that they couldn’t see of him. How weird to become nationally famous before a breakout Xavier season for something only a few actually saw him do. The Zapruder film of hoops at the time. Would that notoriety drive you when the lights are on for real? The tape, of course, was the famous “Dunk (on LeBron) Heard ‘Round The Internet.” As flattering as being known as a guy who smashed on LeBron, that’s not what he wants his game known for, though.
Crawford was picked by New Jersey in 2010 at No. 27, then traded on draft night to Atlanta. Within a year, he’d been shipped to Washington. He’s a more well-traveled second-year pro than most, to be sure, so he’s seemingly always looking for a place to root himself. That place would be the starting five. He began last season a starter, but the common refrain was, only until Nick Young returned. When Young got into shape and became a starter, Crawford went back to a reserve until Flip Saunders was fired, Randy Wittman took over and Young was traded to the Clippers. When his minutes jumped from 24 to 30.9 average, his scoring jumped from 12.7 per game to 17.
He wants to stay there, in the starting five alongside Washington’s keystone, John Wall. Dime caught up with Crawford this week to see how he’s been doing that.
Dime: We at Dime saw your KD IV photo on Instagram. What’s the benefit for keeping them in your fridge?
JC: It’s supposed to be something different. That’s all.
Dime: Not part of a routine, then?
JC: (Laughs) No, no.
Dime: How do you feel about Randy Wittman returning? Did he get in tune
with you more than Flip Saunders?
JC: I think more than anything he just made everyone’s role clearer. It didn’t show in the win column but he made things simple for everyone. Even though we had a bad season we kept playing all the way through to the end of the game. That’s what the Wizards organization liked most about him.
Dime: You really turned it on after the All-Star break, 7 straight 20-point games. What changed?
JC: Opportunity more than anything. I just wanted to take advantage of that opportunity. You don’t know how many years you get to play. Just take advantage of it.
Dime: I know the year started off with you supposedly holding a starting spot for Nick Young. Did that decision by Flip Saunders hold you back?
JC: It held me back because I let it affect me too long. I wasn’t told I’d be holding the spot for someone. I wanted to start and when it happened I was upset about it but I let it go on too long and let it affect me this season way too long.
Dime: Is that a regret?
JC: It’s a regret because I mean, not saying that we could have done anything different with our record, but it’s something you want to learn from. If the same thing was to happen, it’s an 82-game season. You can’t trip when something doesn’t go your way.
Dime: Do you stay in Detroit or go out to LA like a lot of guys for the offseason?
JC: About 50/50. I go back and forth between LA and Detroit. I just be chillin, I make sure I get a lot of shots up.
Dime: Who’re you playing with in LA?
JC: Paul George, and a couple guys coming in. Two of the top players from Mississippi State, a scorer and a big guy. Also Craig Smith.
Hit the jump to read about what how he defines a bad shot…
Dime: Is this a change from how you’d done your routine before?
JC: Well I like both. Out in LA you get to play against a lot players.
Dime: Going back a little, what have you learned from your first season where you were drafted and traded within a year (from Atlanta)? Does that make you think more about your role more in this as a business?
JC: A little bit. It just shows that when you come from being the best player on your team in college, now you’re just another guy. That’s different for me. I wasn’t sure when I got traded that I got to prove myself. That’s the only thing I thought about that they didn’t give me a chance. But I moved on from it.
Dime: You taking bad shots is probably the biggest criticism of you (Ed. note: He shot 40 percent from the field last season) — so what is a bad shot?
JC: A bad shot can be one that you can get any possession, anytime. When me and John (Wall) put in our first year we were the only players when there were eight, nine people hurt. We had to take those shots. I know that’s an area I can improve on second to third year but first couple years it was basically just “keep the Wizards going.” The last two years we might have had 15 players hurt. Those games you just gotta compete and shoot.
Dime: Still, can that be changed? Or would that curb how aggressive you are?
JC: You can still get the same opportunity with less shots. I just need to be efficient. I could just be good with 12-13 shots if I got that every night.
Dime: You’re a rangy guy, so what about fixing other weaknesses? On defense?
JC: Yeah, on D. I want to take it back to the point where you’re a kid and you’re all over the floor. Kind of like where Kobe do, where you’re checking everyone. Where the whole game is fun on both ends and to be strong enough after the first three quarters, where I might be tired but I need to be there to finish the fourth. So I’m working on the conditioning.
Dime: Pressure on yourself for this summer?
JC: I think this is a big summer for me. Every day I go into the gym I’m
looking at the playoffs — and to stop being the clowns of the league.
Dime: You watch the playoffs much?
JC: I watch it every night.
Dime: What do you make of these comebacks?
JC: What they’re doing after all these years is just amazing. How good they play together, how simple they make the game. The Spurs do it too, not just the Celtics. The Thunder have just too much power, though.
What do you think?
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