C's Crawford ready for shooting guard role

C's Crawford ready for shooting guard role
October 3, 2013, 10:45 pm
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NEWPORT, R.I. — The battle to see who will handle the shooting guard duties for the Celtics this season might as well be written down in disappearing ink.

Because no matter who wins the job coming out of camp, that player could vanish at any moment from being a starter to a seldom-used reserve to a player on the move via a trade.
 
However, one thing has become crystal clear to rookie coach Brad Stevens in his effort to sort through what is the C's deepest position - Jordan Crawford will play.

"He's going to have to play because he can score the basketball and pass the basketball and he can play off pick-and rolls," Stevens said. "That's three positives right there. Whether he's at the point, the two, wherever, he's gonna have his opportunities."

Although Avery Bradley is widely viewed as the odds-on favorite to start at the point while Rajon Rondo continues to recover from a torn ACL injury, Crawford is also in the mix to start there or as the team's shooting guard.

Regardless, Crawford is likely to see playing time at both positions as he continues to draw rave reviews from his teammates as well as the coaching staff.

Before camp started, Crawford talked candidly about being more of a leader this season for the C's.

Leadership is among the many voids left to be filled after the Celtics traded away Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry to Brooklyn on draft night.

"I kind of got a strong personality, so people kind of gravitate towards me in the locker room and on the court," Crawford said earlier this summer. "So it's my job to lead them in the right direction."

So far, Crawford continues to attract the attention of those around him for all the right reasons especially when it comes to the younger players.

"He's very upbeat," C's rookie Phil Pressey told CSNNE.com. "He's been in the league a couple years. He's looking to prove himself as well. His energy that he brings everyday, helps us out."

While the perception for years has been Crawford was a shoot-first type of player, his numbers suggest that ball distribution is a bigger part of his game than he's given credit for.

In fact, his assists numbers (4.6) per 36 minutes played are better than every member of the C's roster except for Rajon Rondo (10.6).

Crawford has maintained from the time he arrived in Boston that he was a more complete player than his reputation suggested.

And he has done nothing so far to make the Celtics coaching staff believe otherwise.

"He's a good ball-handler. He has a nice feel for the game, passing the ball," Stevens said.

And maybe most important, he has embraced the teachings of his new coach with no resistance.

"He's been nothing but a consummate teammate," Stevens said. "He's been very easy to coach."

Stevens discussed a recent video edit that broke down plays made by the players, and pointed out things they could have done better or differently to be more effective.

"He was the first clip," Stevens recalled.

After they returned to the floor following the video session, Stevens said Crawford immediately made the adjustment they had just talked about with no grumbling or complaints.

"That's how you go out and get better," Stevens said. "You don't take those things personally. You just go, and go to work. He set a good example of that."

And it is that example that will likely result in Crawford being inked in - for now at least - to play a decent amount for the C's this season.