Jamal Crawford’s role with the Portland Trail Blazers vacillated between shooting guard off the bench and starting point guard, and Crawford is excited to take those skills forward with a different organization. ”
At the end of the day, we didn’t win as many games as we wanted to [in Portland],” Crawford said following his exit interview with the Blazers on April 29. “But I don’t know how, I still ended up being second [on the team] in scoring and assists. I don’t know how that was possible.”
“I think I am an underrated passer, honestly,” Crawford said. “I think that through my career I have averaged right around four assists per game, and a lot of people don’t know that because once you score a lot of points [you] kind of get put in a box, but I think they will be pleasantly surprised with that and pleasantly surprised with how I have progressed as a player.”
The Clippers have a lot of versatile pieces coming to training camp including former Sixth Man of the Year Lamar Odom. Vinny Del Negro is excited about the line-up flexibility he will have next year.
“Jamal has demonstrated that he is comfortable playing both guard positions,” Del Negro said. “That is one reason he is so valuable, especially coming off the bench. You can use him in different situations at different positions, and as a coach, that provides you a lot of flexibility and can create a lot of match-up problems.”
Still, Crawford has clearly shown the ability to not just be a big-time scorer, but score when his team needs it the most. He’s made memorable buzzer-beaters with the Knicks and Hawks and is prone to get hot at any moment, just like he did in January against the Clippers.
“I’ve always responded to pressure situations,” Crawford said. “I don’t really see pressure. I just see another opportunity to be successful. If you are successful in those environments, then you can succeed in anything. For me, I feel like there is nothing that can be thrown at me that I will not be able to respond to. This is a situation that fits everything I am about and everything I am trying to do, so I feel like the best is yet to come.”
If the Clippers make a return to the Playoffs next year, which judging by their line-up will be a distinct possibility, then we will see how much pressure Jamal Crawford can take onto his shoulders.