The Clippers are deep. There’s no getting around that. They have the makings of one of the top benches in the league which will be unveiled Wednesday night when they open the regular season against the Grizzlies at 7:30 p.m. on Prime Ticket.
The second unit could be one of the league’s most high powered attacks and there may not be a player providing more ammo than new addition Jamal Crawford.
He can fill it up.
Crawford has averaged 15.3 points through the first 12 seasons of his NBA career. In 2008 he became the fourth player in NBA history to score 50 or more points in a game with three different teams, joining the likes of Wilt Chamberlain, Moses Malone and Bernard King.
He’s the type of player that can roll out of bed and get you 20 points on any given night. Scoring comes so natural to him, he claims this past offseason was the first time in his career he practiced shooting and working on his game, telling the LA Times he normally plays off of “raw talent.”
What a talent it is a for a guy who can heat up in moments, and for this generation is the closest thing to Vinnie “the Microwave” Johnson. However, the former NBA Sixth Man of the Year says he can do more than just score. Having a reputation as a pure scorer, people forget other aspects of his game, which he wants to put on display as a Clipper.
“A lot of people forget I’ve averaged four assists for my career as well and played the two guard mostly,” Crawford said. “I just want to win. I think that people don’t truly see a person or see how good they are until they’re on a winning stage like this.”
A winning stage isn’t one Crawford has performed on for the majority of his career. He’s reached the playoffs just twice, both during his stint with the Atlanta Hawks, and has a total of 23 playoff games under his belt.
Now a member of a legit championship contender, he has a winning stage to perform on. He thinks it’s similar to his time in Atlanta when he won the 2010 NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award. Being on a winning team attracts more attention.
“Honestly, I felt like that going to Atlanta,” Crawford said. “I had averaged (almost) 20 (points per game) for a couple of years in and row and still wasn’t the same. I came off the bench in Atlanta, I averaged 18 and that was almost like I averaged 25. (People were) like ‘Who is this guy?’ I’ve been around 10 years but that’s the difference between winning and losing. I’m excited about the opportunities here.”
Crawford says his new team is “by far” the deepest team he’s ever been on and it’s “not even close.”
At the head of the class are Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, who Crawford feels will make his life a lot easier.
“When you have two legit superstars, they demand a lot of attention and that’s when other guys get a chance to get a lot of open shots,” Crawford said.
Crawford, of course, will be waiting to knock them down.