Crawford has been one of the NBA’s most high-profile sixth men for about a decade, winning his first of three Sixth Man of the Year awards back in 2009-10 and his most recent in 2015-16. Last season, he averaged 12.3 points, 2.6 assists and 1.7 rebounds across 26.3 minutes per game while shooting 41.3 percent from the field. He also made 1.4 threes per game at a 36.0 percent clip. The 37-year-old will be joining his seventh team for the upcoming season, signing a two-year deal with Minnesota over the summer. Considering the team has little guard depth, it seems fair to assume that Crawford will be assigned his usual role. That said, he provides little Fantasy value all around, as even his strength, his scoring, isn’t done with efficiency. As a result, he can likely be avoided in all but the deepest of leagues.
For the third time in his career, Crawford was able to claim the Sixth Man of the Year Award last season, but it came in far less impressive fashion than his previous two wins. The 36-year-old averaged 14.2 points per game -- his worst mark in four seasons with the Clippers -- and shot 40.4 percent from the field and 34 percent from three-point range. Due to those subpar percentages along with his lack of contributions in the assist or defensive categories, Crawford isn't the most appealing play in season-long fantasy options. Moreover, Crawford could see his minutes with the second unit take a hit in 2016-17 with the Clippers beefing up their porous bench by adding Raymond Felton and Alan Anderson this offseason to provide depth on the wing.
After a third solid season in Los Angeles, Crawford's role in the upcoming season remains up in the air. With trade rumors swirling and new bench assets arriving in LA, the 11-year veteran's future with the organization remains to be determined. Last season, Crawford played 64 games and averaged 15.8 points, 1.9 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 0.9 steals, and 1.9 three-pointers in 27 minutes per game off the bench. The 35-year-old guard shot 40 percent from the field, which remained in line with his fairly low career average of 41 percent. While Crawford always has the potential to contribute in points, three-pointers, and free-throw percentage (90 percent in 2014-15), his performance in other counting stats, particularly defensively, is relatively negligible. Despite earning Sixth Man of the Year honors in 2013-14, the aging Crawford saw his career-low in minutes per game last season. With the addition of Lance Stephenson and Paul Pierce on the wing, Crawford could continue to see his playing time decline. Provided he remains in Los Angeles, Crawford's minutes should be shared heavily with fellow shooting guards Stephenson and J.J. Redick, which may impact his fantasy relevance.
Coming off winning another Sixth Man Award last season, Crawford should stay in his pseudo-bench role while playing starter's minutes. At 34 years old , it's reasonable to expect small declines in his game, but he can still shoot the lights out on any given night to provide owners with points in bunches, as well as a good supply of three-pointers. Crawford should continue to be a solid free-throw shooter (86% career) but a fairly inefficient scorer (41% FG career). While a healthy J.J. Redick may get more minutes at shooting guard, the absence of Darren Collison should keep Crawford playing fantasy-relevant minutes this season.
Crawford was the go-to player last season for a Clippers' second unit that would rival several teams' starting fives, scoring 16.5 points and knocking down two threes per game en route to a second-place finish in the Sixth Man of the Year voting. Called upon to provide a boost off the bench, Crawford largely eschewed defense and passing to pour in points for the Clippers, doing so with greater efficiency (44 FG%, 38 3PT%, 87 FT%) than his career marks. The Clippers will tab Crawford for a similar role this season, though it appears that the additions of Antawn Jamison and Byron Mullens might give the team a more offensive-heavy bench in 2013-14. With that in mind, along with presumably better health from all-world point guard Chris Paul, who was slowed by knee and thumb injuries last season, it wouldn't be surprising to see a slight reduction in both minutes and shot attempts for Crawford in 2013-14.
Let’s ignore the contract here. The Clippers clearly overpaid and overextended for Crawford giving him four years at the mid-level exception. At this point, Crawford might just be one of those players who has more fantasy value than actual, on-the-court value. Though he posted his lowest field goal percentage since his rookie season last year, he did lead the league in free throw percentage and still averaged 18.7 points per 36. He won’t get a fantasy team any sort of rebounding, but he could see more minutes than he did last year – especially if Billups is out at the start of the season – and that means scoring numbers and a few assists are a distinct possibility from the veteran guard.
It makes sense when you think about it, but Crawford's first season in Atlanta provides a nice illustration: when a talented player is given less to do, he's probably going to be more efficient while doing it. After three or four years of playing 38 minutes and taking around 15 shots per game, Crawford took on a sixth-man role with the Hawks last season and flourished. Despite playing only 31.1 minutes per game, his scoring decreased only slightly (19.7 per game in 2008-09, 18.0 last year). The reasons were two-fold. For one, Crawford still managed 14.0 shots per game – very likely due to being the clear first option on the second unit. For two, likely because of getting to take on opposing second units, Crawford saw his field goal percentage (44.9) outpace his career average by a full four percent.
The Hawks envision Crawford as an offensive spark plug off the bench, capable of making an already productive backcourt even more potent. After starting for the Warriors last year, he'll have to adjust to this new sixth-man role and the decreased playing time that goes along with it. Assuming he accepts his slightly diminished role, Crawford should emerge as a reliable combo-guard for Atlanta. The decreased minutes will inevitably correlate with a decrease in stats, but not enough to prevent him from being a usable source of points, steals, assists and three-point shooting.
Crawford was one of the few bright spots on the Knicks last season, and he seems like a perfect fit on the new Mike D’Antoni-led version. Crawford is an explosive long-range scorer (20.6 ppg, 2.2 3pg) that’s also adept at getting to the rim (86.4% FT on 4.8 attempts/game) and setting up his teammates (5.0 apg). At 6-5 he’s too big for most point guards, and he has a quickness advantage against most twos. Presumably, Crawford will be the perimeter centerpiece for the D’Antoni offense that helped make the Suns a scoring juggernaut over the past four seasons. Even if he were to come off of the bench, he would still thrive in the instant-offense/back-up-point-guard role that made Leandro Barbosa so valuable in Phoenix the last few years.
Crawford has a lot in common with another Madison Square Garden fan favorite, John Starks. When he’s “on,” he’s pretty close to unstoppable. But when he’s off, he can’t throw the ball in the ocean. The trade of Steve Francis should solidify Crawford’s spot in the starting backcourt alongside Stephon Marbury, which should make him a valuable source of scoring and threes. But be careful – the Knicks have a lot of options on the wing. Isiah Thomas could choose to go with a more defensively-focused lineup with Quentin Richardson and Renaldo Balkman getting more time. Also – as one of the few Knicks with trade value and a reasonable contract, Crawford’s name regularly comes up in the rumor mill. That makes Crawford’s value much harder to project, as there’s no telling if he’d land in a starting spot or bench role playing elsewhere.
Crawford is a 6-5 combo guard that loves to have the ball in his hands, shoot, and score. He did well in that role last season, averaging career highs in points (17.7 ppg) and 3-pointers (2.6) while still distributing a respectable 4.3 assists. With new acquisitions Quentin Richardson and Nate Robinson in addition to the returning Stephon Marbury, there are now too many scoring/shooting/combo guards for everyone to produce. Add in that new Knicks coach Larry Brown abhors offensive gunners and preaches defense and “playing the right way”, and Crawford’s production could very well decrease this season. Look for him to continue to produce well in treys and decently in points, but until minutes and roles are defined, he should not be considered an upper tier shooting guard.
Crawford might have been happy to bolt from the Bulls, but fantasy owners are far from ecstatic with his move to the Knicks. As a Knick, Crawford will play off the bench behind Allan Houston and Stephon Marbury, and his fantasy production will be limited. In an effort to save Houston's wear and tear, the team could opt for a three-guard rotation, which should work in theory as Crawford can handle both the point and shooting guard. Should Houston’s knees act up, Crawford would move into the starting shooting guard role and would have good value for his ability to knock down the three and put points on the board in bunches. Crawford should go in the later rounds, but could be a nice sleeper considering Houston’s health status.
The injury to Jay Williams will open up lots of minutes for Crawford at the point. As a starter in 2002-03, he averaged 6.0 assists per game, which puts him in the Steve Francis/Gilbert Arenas range. The addition of Scottie Pippen and the development of Tyson Chandler and Eddie Curry will give Crawford options aplenty this year. He’s in the final year of a contract to boot, and it’s not clear if the team will extend his contract by the Oct. 30 deadline. The risk, of course, is that Crawford will continue to improve as he did last season, resulting in an accrual of his value.