June 17, 2014
|SCOUTING REPORT: Stands weird.
, Memphis, Senior, 6'4 222lbs2013/14 stats:
29.8 mpg, 8.7 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 3.0 apg, 1.5 spg, 0.3 bpg, 2.0 fpg, 1.6 TOpg, 36.9% FG, 37.3% 3PT, 65.5% FT
Crawford was the fourth guard in Memphis's four guard line-up last season, and did a little bit of everything for the team. Best known as a shooting specialist, Crawford is a very good catch-and-shoot player who struggles much more when shooting off the bounce, but who can fill it up with the feet set. He also masquerades as an occasional point guard - Memphis were catered for in his position by Joe Jackson
and Michael Dixon
last season, but Crawford can fill in for possessions at a time, and was similarly relied upon for versatility defensively. Too often forced to guard bigger forwards and defend the paint, Crawford was never all that effective, given how easy his 6'4 frame was to shoot over, but he used his strength to body up as best he could, and win some occasional possessions with his anticipation.
However, all language used above to indicate intermittent effectiveness is deliberate, because there is nothing profoundly secure about Crawford's production. His defense seems to be tied to his scoring output - when he's shooting well, he defends well, attacking the boards and competing on D. But when he's not, he will lazily reach, overplay the passing lanes, forgo the glass and close out slowly. Even when plugged in defensively, he is quite slow laterally, undersized and easily gotten around by opposing guards, so he needs maximum effort to compensate and it is not always there. This is not something that he phased out as an upperclassman, either - indeed, Crawford was arguably more liable to switch off and play soft as a senior than in any previous year. And he also seemed to get slightly stockier. On offense, Crawford's mid-range jump shot is nice, but he won't use it, and despite his decent athleticism and solid enough handle, it is a wonder why he so often refuses to use them on the drive. It is not an especially nuanced handle, and Crawford rarely gets beyond the first line of the defense, instead racking up his assets from a willingness to pass and moving it around the perimeter. He never gets to the foul line, is not a speedster, heat checks too often, and does not even work as much off the ball as you would want a shooter to do.
Crawford never improved a great deal in his time at Memphis. It is true that he didn't have to improve much to be a contributor, but it is a big hindrance at this level. Crawford is an occasional shooter, occasional point, occasional ball handler and occasional defender who will be advertised as having defensive versatility, but he is also streaky, undersized, not hugely athletic and unassertive who never made himself all that reliable. It is not too late to start, but these ills will not be cured in or before summer league. Wayne Ellington
has a similar physical profile and skill set, but Ellington competes and moves off the ball.
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