Insider Request - Clippers Jamal Problem

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dukenilnil
Clipper Rookie
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The Clippers Jamal Crawford problem

insider. espn. go. com / nba / story / _ / id / 10935687 / los-angeles-clippers-need-return-chris-paul-blake-griffin-show-nba-pla yoffs

FightOnRon
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It was a scene that got lost in the madness that was the Clippers-Thunder Game 5 finish.

With 30 seconds left in the game up four and the Los Angeles Clippers needing a bucket to seal a Game 5 win, Jamal Crawford waved off Chris Paul. The Clippers' starting point guard had walked out to the halfcourt line where Crawford stood and signaled his hunger for the ball by holding up his hands toward the reigning Sixth Man of the Year. But Crawford motioned for him to be a decoy in the left corner. Paul obliged.

Crawford milked the clock and had the mismatch on slow-footed Kendrick Perkins. As the shot clock trickled down to five seconds, Crawford easily blew past Perkins off the dribble, blitzed into the paint for a clear shot at the rim and pulled up short for a finger-roll layup. No good. The Thunder ignited a fast break off the miss and Kevin Durant quickly made a bucket on the other end to cut the lead to two as Crawford watched from afar.

This is the Crawford experience. The veteran has an uncanny ability to hit tough shots, but miss the easy ones. He's the guy who will fix your car in a pinch and then lose your keys.

Right now, down 3-2 and facing elimination, the Clippers need more, and that means less of Crawford. Usage rate is a statistic that estimates the percentage of team plays a player uses while on the floor (via field goal attempt, free throw attempt or turnover). Basically, it quantifies how often a player tries to score. Take a guess who leads the Los Angeles Clippers this postseason in usage rate. Paul? Griffin? Guess again.

It's Crawford.

Yes, the bench player currently owns a 29.1 percent usage rate this postseason, higher than Paul (23.8) and Griffin (28.2). That wouldn't be a huge problem if it weren't for the fact that Crawford is shooting 39.8 percent this postseason. His true shooting percentage, which quantifies total shot efficiency by incorporating free-throws and 3-pointers -- sits at 53.4 percent, below the league average at 54 percent. In this series, the inefficiency has been more concentrated; Crawford's usage rate has blown up to 31.3 percent while his true shooting percentage has spiraled to a paltry 46.3 percent.

That's not healthy. Doc Rivers' decision to milk the clock for long stretches only enables Crawford's flair for the dramatic. He miraculously generated three and-one opportunities in Game 5 alone, but one wonders whether those provide a false sense of invincibility. Get this: Crawford missed 15 of his 19 shots when he wasn't fouled in Game 5.

For a team that wields two MVP candidates, it's mind-boggling how much of a black hole Crawford has become in the playoffs. If you give the ball to Crawford, better get ready to crash the boards. In this series alone, he has taken 80 field goal attempts and passed the ball just 102 times, according to SportVU player tracking data. Compare that to Paul who has 82 field goal attempts and 382 passes while Griffin has 90 field goal attempts and 260 passes. And Crawford has been by far the least efficient of the three.

This is the problem with one-dimensional players like Crawford. When his shots aren't falling, he doesn't bring anything else to the table. He's not a willing distributor. He's the third-worst rebounding 6-6 player in NBA history (only Randy Wittman and Jim Paxson have registered worse rebounding rates at his height, according to Basketball-Reference). And the Clippers have to hide him under a rug on the defensive end.

To be clear, Crawford isn't the sole reason that the Clippers are trailing in this series. Paul made some horrible decisions down the stretch in Game 5 and there is value to having a safety valve like Crawford to rescue the offense when the shot clock is winding down.

But with Paul and Griffin in the fold, the Clippers are asking for trouble when they put the ball in Crawford's hands in crucial situations. He turned down Paul on more than one occasion in Game 5 and pulled up for contested jumpers, sometimes well beyond the 3-point arc.

The Clippers need to run more pick-and-roll actions with Paul in order to get Griffin the ball. You know who else had a mismatch in the Crawford missed layup sequence referenced at the top? Griffin. He had Reggie Jackson covering him on the block. Instead of exploiting that matchup, Crawford waved everyone off to run an isolation at the top of the key. In related news: Crawford has assisted a Griffin field goal four times in 12 games this postseason. That's it.

The Clippers would probably benefit from giving crunchtime minutes to J.J. Redick, who has been glued to the bench in the fourth quarter lately. Redick can't create a shot in a tight spot like Crawford can, but that might actually be a good thing as it forces Paul and Griffin to work their magic. Furthermore, the Clippers have scored five points per 100 possessions more with Redick on the floor compared to Crawford this postseason (114.7 vs. 109.4). The Clippers could use more stability in late-game situations rather than watch Crawford swing for the fences.

It's a bit unnerving to see how marginalized Griffin has become down the stretch in this series. Though it's true that crunchtime offense tends to run through ball-handlers who can get a shot off, it's not like Griffin isn't capable of creating a healthy shot. That's what he's done all season and it's what the Clippers need to remember in a do-or-die Game 6. The Clippers won a franchise-record 57 games this season primarily because of the Paul and Griffin show. Crawford shouldn't be stealing the spotlight.

sz123456
Clipper All-Star
Posts: 2338
votes: 13

Meh, I thought it was a high percentage shot.

CP3Best
CTB MVP X1
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votes: 12

He did miss a layup though, but we shouldn't dwell on the past, PLEASE, I've been trying to get over the loss by not looking at any breakdowns, analysis, video, articles so that wretched thing can be purged out of my system. Stop trying to find someone to blame, there's always someone to blame, won't bring the game back, won't give us the win Tonight. So let's focus on tonight.

fullcourt
Clipper Starter
Posts: 264
votes: 4

Crawford is more than a willing distributor as he was the one who found a streaking Collision both times for layups in to close game 4.

What is this guy talking about? the last 3 minutes Clippers possessions

2:58 Chris Paul misses 14-foot two point jumper 101-93

2:39 Chris Paul misses 17-foot jumper 101-93

2:21 DeAndre Jordan offensive foul (Russell Westbrook draws the foul) 101-95

2:21 DeAndre Jordan turnover 101-95

1:31 Jamal Crawford misses 27-foot three point jumper 101-95

0:49 Chris Paul makes 17-foot two point shot 104-97

0:22 Jamal Crawford misses layup 104-100

0:13 Chris Paul bad pass (Russell Westbrook steals) 104-102

0:00 Chris Paul lost ball turnover (Reggie Jackson steals)[/list]

Both times jamal had to put a shot to beat the buzzer got good looks and used up all of the clock which is great because we had the lead

To toss out usage rates when were behind for most of games 2, 3 and 4 is ridiculous as his usage rate will be high as the sparkplug off the bench when you are trying to comeback and Blake and CP need offensive help

ClippersDA
CTB MVP X1
Posts: 3480
votes: 11

There were shots early in the clock that were bad shots. That's just a fact and that's part of his player profile. High talent but low IQ

dukenilnil
Clipper Rookie
Posts: 54
votes: 0

Thanks for the Insider post. Appreciate it

fullcourt
Clipper Starter
Posts: 264
votes: 4

Not down the stretch of the game there wasn't

Icecoldclipper
CTB MVP X2
Posts: 9425
votes: 20

I swear Crawford gets so much hate its like he is our Westbrook. There have been times that I wanted to bench him because he was cold but he is just as much part of the team success as everyone else if not most in certain games.

A_DOG_NAMED_BUD
Clipper All-Star
Posts: 1470

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votes: 9

HAHAHA! You wouldn't want him to make it too easy now, would you?

ClipperRevival
Clipper 6th Man
Posts: 173
votes: 0

Disagree with the article. Crawford is a scorer. We bring him in to score. Yeah, he takes some bad shots but he also makes some amazing shots. I would take this guy on my team any day of the week.

fullcourt
Clipper Starter
Posts: 264
votes: 4

Its human nature especially when it come to Crawford some people tend to remember the one bad play and ignore the 5 previous plays.

Every playoff game takes on a life of its on but I always look at it is that you need the people the people who have played a huge part in you getting to this point to step up not go away. The fact that he considered jamal the problem and not the fact that DJ is spending more time on the sideline and not on the court tells me that he is writing this from a slant

Keatonsays
Clipper Starter
Posts: 888

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votes: 6

I feel like we get to content with letting JC create his own shots all the time instead of running him off screens to get him started. Not sure if that's accurate but just an opinion.

ClippersDA
CTB MVP X1
Posts: 3480
votes: 11

Yes there were, that's what I'm talkin about

fullcourt
Clipper Starter
Posts: 264
votes: 4

and I posted the timelines so there is the what you see and what the actual facts are '

Our last 8 possessions Jamal took 2 shots both were as the shot clock expired. One was a three and one was a layup attempt. I posted those above so exactly which ones were you talking about that was early in the clock.

If you want to go back further at the 4:13 mark jamals three with 6 seconds on the shotlock gave us a 13 pt lead.

This is not to claim that jamal has never shot early in the clock just that in this particular game down the stretch he did not.

last 8 possessions

jamal 2 shots

CP 2 shots

Cp 2 turnovers

Dj offensive foul

Blake one attempt fouled split fts

cleepers
CTB MVP X2
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I wouldn't want him jacking like that as a starter, but he comes off the bench to get buckets. He's in the right role for his skillset.

BaadMaster
Clipper Starter
Posts: 486
Location: Los Angeles
votes: 5

They used to say the same thing about Kobe. And he has five rings.

Crawford, for a sixth man, is great.

ClipperPostman
Clipper All-Star
Posts: 1254
votes: 17

At the end of the 3rd qtr crawford made like 10 straight pts including

a 4 pt play.

Crawford has made so many critical shots to spark runs, and close gaps

in the 4th qtr only a retarded journalist who barely watches the clippers

would even insinuate garbage about Crawford.

The reality is his style of play does make you cringe when he takes

crazy shots and misses badly, but he also makes those shots

41% of the time.

Crawford for mvp.

Agent0
CTB MVP X1
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votes: 37

I was going to say "I wouldn't say he isn't willing as a passer, he just get's so happy with scoring that he doesn't think about it", but maybe that sort of describes not being too willing, because he's a very capable distributor, but not nearly as willing to use that part of his game consistently. It's a lot about consistency in the NBA, which is why we know he's a capable distributor because he will have nights when he does, but on a night to night basis, he does tend to forget about that part of his game, so it isn't a consistent factor.

Of course similar to Durant in the last game, making big shots is great, no doubt, but if you make a couple more shots earlier, your team is also in a better position to win, so in a singular game, it is fine, but of course, you don't want to have too many games where you are shooting a lot and missing a lot, but "make big shots", because the reality becomes that you aren't helping as much as you could in the grand scheme.

Like I said, Jamal had been good for about 6 games since game 2 or 3 vs GS to game 1 vs OKC, but he's struggled vs the Thunder

vs OKC:

16.2 PPG / 16.0 FGA / 2.0 RPG / 2.2 APG / 35% FG / 30.3% 3PT / 26 MPG / .463 TS%

Obviously we know he's made some good plays, but he had to have made bad ones / missed a lot for his averages to be where they wee. We have lost a game by 2 and a game by 6, so yes, if he had been more consistent or been more dynamic in his production, it could have changed things because he is taking a lot of the possessions relative to his floor time, but this is Jamal Crawford. After his good game 1, he's had a .426 TS% with 16 PPG on 17.3 FGA shooting 31.9% FG and 25.9% 3PT in 27.8 MPG.

That's obviously not going to help too much overall, there's really no arguing that away, and he should have been more restrictive in some of the attempts he was taking. Sometimes it isn't just the amount, though his rate of attempts has been a big high, but it is the quality based on the context of the situation. He's taken too many bad shots that he didn't need to take, because bad shots when you have to take them are just the reality, can't always get a good shot. This for the most part is Jamal though, that's how he plays.

This is also why I was saying last game that he's due for a big game, because the law of averages kind of played out from GS series to now. He had a .598 TS% vs GS and .647 TS% from game 2 vs GS to game 1 vs OKC, we just couldn't expect that to last when he's never done that for a long period before, it was too likely that it would come down. I know we'll think it must be this or that extrinsic factor, but it was more likely that he had a couple of bad games to balance that than it was that he continued; based on his career consistency. Hopefully the averages play back out over the last two games in a positive way. Of course you can never truly predict how long one streak or the other (hot or cold) will last, so we can just hope it comes at the right time.

clipperboy24
CTB MVP X1
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It's definitely a catch 22 with him. When his shots aren't falling he is of a negative value. Iso like he does really stagnates out offense, I hate when Cp3 does the same thing

Agent0
CTB MVP X1
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Isolation in itself isn't bad, it is how you set up isolation, because it seems like because of the criticism of over-reliance on iso, fans have sort of made this conclusion that iso in itself is bad. It isn't, it is when you isolate, it is what comes before the isolation. We run post iso's for Blake, we run mid-post iso's for Chris, we run some iso's off good action for Jamal. it is more of the out of flow, too early in the clock iso's that are more of a problem. Of course Jamal has a higher tendency than most player to break out of the offense to iso, but you do want to give him that freedom, the balance is that he needs to make good decisions on when is appropriate to do so.

Of course Jamal has always been on the thin line between proper time to isolate and not, and he will always be, it's not something that's changing, and you just have to live with it.

ClipperPostman
Clipper All-Star
Posts: 1254
votes: 17

By the time Jamal starts ISO the offense has usually already stagnated. The bench never looks like it has an offensive flow. Darren and Jamal ISO pretty much we have come to depend on for bench scoring.

kjavis
Clipper All-Star
Posts: 1056
votes: 2

With Jamal per game you can always count on 2-3 bricks and 1-2 Handling TOs but you live with that because he is our top 3rd scorer and the only wing that can break down the defense and get into the paint and until we get a legitimate scoring wing there is nothing to complain about

ClipperRevival
Clipper 6th Man
Posts: 173
votes: 0

Jamal is a tough choice. The guy will be 35 next year, which means he could decline dramatically at anytime. You love him cause he is that instant offense off the bench who can create his own shot. He has always given our bench credibility because of his ability to score. Without him, we would be in dire need of offense. But the guy is 35, is prone to take bad shots and plays no defense. This is a tough decision. Do we try to move him while he still has some value or is his ability to create his own shot off the bench too important?

JQuick32
CTB MVP X1
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I like Jamal, he seems down to Earth and humble, and he is fun to watch sometimes (in the regular season). But as I've said, he's simply a regular-season player, and his playoff performances prove it. I don't see how we ever win a championship when the highest usage rate belongs to a bench player with bad shot selection, no defense, no rebounding, and a refusal to pass the ball. His fancy dribbling and heat-check shots don't work nearly as well against playoff defenses and those are his only skills really besides drawing four-point plays. This roster is so flawed that I don't see how the front office can justify not trading him to help address needs, honestly.

JQuick32
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Thanks entirely to elite bigs who were able to cancel out his no-shame chucking. As the first option, Kobrick struggled to even make the playoffs.

You're always better off with team players than with iso chuckers.

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