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Magic Prospects: Jordan Crawford


Jordan Crawford is probably the most recognized name among the Magic invites because of his dunk over LeBron James last summer. Although it got Crawford’s name out there, it’s really a shame because it overshadows just how good of a season Crawford had.

Crawford spent the 2007-08 playing for Indiana before deciding to transfer to Xavier. By rule, he had to sit out the 2008-09 season. Crawford returned to the court last season and was fantastic. Crawford exploded during his sophomore season, averaging 20.5 points, 4.7 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game. Crawford also shot the ball efficiently – he shot 39.1% from behind the arc and 77.3% from the free throw line.

After the jump, we’ll take a closer look at Crawford’s numbers.


Crawford’s numbers are obviously excellent. He’s become a very good 3-point shooter and is a very versatile scorer on offense. He averaged 20.5 points per game last season and was extremely efficient in doing so, posting a very good effective field goal percentage and a very good true shooting percentage. Crawford needs to become a better finisher around the basket and I’d like to see Crawford get to the free throw line at a better rate but those are things he can work on and neither prevented him from being one of the nation’s most dynamic scorers.

It’s always tough to judge college players because there are so many different levels of competition. Fortunately for Crawford, his team played against some excellent competition out of conference and Crawford had mixed results.

We’ll get Crawford’s worst game out of the way early. In Xavier’s fourth game of the year, he scored 9 points on 4-of-20 shooting in a 71-61 loss to Marquette in a neutral site game (the Old Spice Classic at Disney’s Milkhouse in Central Florida).

Crawford also shot poorly in a close loss at Baylor, going just 6-of-19 from the field. However, he did still manage to score 16 points and grab 6 boards. He scored 16 points on 5-of-13 shooting in a loss at Kansas State.

Crawford’s breakout game came in a 4-point loss at Wake Forest early in January. He scored 30 points, grabbed 6 rebounds and dished out 4 assists.

In the NCAA tournament, Crawford took his game to another level. He scored 28 points on 11-of-21 shooting, grabbed 6 points and dished out 5 assists in a first round win over Minnesota. He scored 27 points on 9-of-15 shooting against Pittsburgh in the second round. Crawford ended his season with a career-high 32-point performance in a double overtime loss to Kansas State in the Sweet 16. Crawford 35-foot three-pointer also forced the second overtime.

Crawford’s early season performances against top notch competition were rather poor but as the season went on and Crawford matured as a player, he was able to put up huge numbers against similar competition (and in the case of Kansas State, the exact same competition). It shouldn’t be a surprise that Crawford struggled early on since he was forced to sit out the 2008-09 season. I’d put more stock into Crawford’s big tournament games than his poor early season games.

Crawford had a decent assist percentage and his turnover percentage was pretty low for a guy who had the ball as much as he does, but there are some questions surrounding Crawford’s ability to play in a supporting role, which is what he will be doing when he gets to the NBA.

"Crawford struggled yet again in a supporting role, unable to play off of the ball and contribute without the ball in his hands. He must have the ball and attack the basket to be effective, which is not a good sign as he looks towards the next level."

In Crawford’s defense, the Musketeers lost three starters after the 2008-09 season and needed a player like Crawford to step up and replace that production, which is exactly what he did.

Crawford has a quick first step and looks like a capable ball handler.

Crawford’s size (6’4) seems like a bit of a concern but he makes up for it with good length.

Crawford is no lock down defender but he’s solid on that end of the floor. Here’s what Draft Express had to say about Crawford’s defense earlier this season.

"On the defensive end, Crawford is solid, though unspectacular. He gambles quite a bit, both in terms of his man-to-man defense and on shot-fakes closer to the basket. Similarly, he does not show consistent focus, not closing out nearly as often as one would like to see. Given Crawford’s incredibly taxing role on the offensive end of the floor, his average defensive fundamentals are somewhat understandable, though certainly not excusable. Scouts will likely want to see increased intensity and focus on defense when considering his role at the next level, as his lack of size and strength will do him no favors on this end."

I still believe the positives far outweigh the negatives when it comes to Crawford would not be the least bit surprised if he is the pick come Thursday night should he be available – his stock is rising.

(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger and a contributor on the Fansided Front Page. Subscribe to his RSS feed, add him on Twitter to follow him daily and you can get the HTD app here).