Is Jordan Crawford a First-Round Reach?
Two-thirds. Two out of every three. I get the "best-player available" function, even if I largely think it's not only a useless endeavor in all but the rarest of cases and believe it's harmful for the players themselves. The teams have no responsibility to protect the player, but it still seems unnecessary to see a player wallow in purgatory at the end of a bench who could contribute immediately, simply because a team loaded at his position drafted him because he was the best guy there. But it's a part of NBA life, and a sound philosophy at its core.
But you would think that with two-thirds of the picks being considered bigs, that some of the better guard prospects might garner some more weight. Supply and demand, after all. Twenty out of 30 NBA teams can't all be in desperate need of big men, I don't care how much the age of the great center has declined. So that begs the question:
Why is Jordan Crawford dancing the tango with the second-round line?
Crawford is best known for being the kid in the "LeBron James Gets Dunked On (!)" tape. But after that he also became a force for Xavier. He finished averaging 20.5 points on 46.2 percent shooting. His other numbers were certainly "eh" (4 rebounds, 3 assists per game with 2.4 turnovers), but he's also the star player on a smaller school at shooting guard.
His NCAA Tournament performance was what vaulted him up the charts, averaging 29 points per game in three wins in March. He has great athleticism and the cliche-but-still-vital element of explosiveness. Want to know why that term is important? It's what separates O.J. Mayo from the elite category (along with his size which impacts him at both ends, but roll with me here).
Crawford has natural scoring ability, and the confidence to be a leader. Those are things that are almost impossible to develop in the NBA. His weaknesses are considerable, that's why he's a late first rounder. But they are all things that can be worked on with the right coaching staff. He has trouble with being a black hole, but we haven't seen him in the flow of an NBA offense with players that are better than him on the floor. He struggles with finishing at the basket, but if he can get to the rim, the rest will work itself out.
Crawford is currently hanging right around the second-round line, drifting between picks 23 and 36 on most, though he is trending up. Teams late in the draft will have their choice. Do they want the 18th best forward/center in a deep big-man draft without much elite level talent, or the pick of the litter of a lower-depth guard class. Crawford could end up as a steal for one of the teams who decides to chance it late. What he should not be, is a second-round pick.
Ziller: NBA Mock Draft 4.0