Can a fan take a player one possession at a time? Because if it is possible, that is my recommendation for you on how to handle Jamal Crawford. Don't take the good with the bad. Don't go tabula rasa into each game. Actually, separate the man out by possession. Because if you can forget Crawford practically walking the guy he was defending toward an open layup, the crossover into drilling a smooth jumper is going to be pure joy.
The problem with Jamal Crawford is his exceptional skills are tainted by his exceptional inadequacies. He is kind of the anti Zaza Pachulia. Hate rises up at Crawford only in relation to how skilled a basketball player he is. How can a guy that quick and athletic be that bad at defense? How can a dude who can shoot it that well take so many bad shots? Why does a player with those handles and that good at shooting free throws not drive to the hoop more? The negative is defined by the positive.
And of course our issue all season is that those strengths and weaknesses probably are not going to change. So I am pulling earlier counter measures, a little something I am calling "Memento fandom." In the moment, you rejoice or you cry. You fist pump or you convulse in rage, and then you forget. It is the only way to experience Jamal Crawford, blatently forced amensia.
Because the best thing about an amazing play is seeing it in the moment. Experiencing that joy manifested on the hardwood. The worst thing about the bad play, the contested three pointer with 21 seconds on the shot clock while holding onto a lead in the fourth, is reliving it over and over again. Things are defined as bad for how long they stick with you. Things are defined as good in the moment, how quickly it gets you out of your chair, how fast you text your buddy to see if he is watching. I am telling you "memento fandom." You will thank me later.
So we know what we are getting with Jamal Crawford. It was repeated over and over during Jamal Crawford half week. A scorer who goes through dry spells. A good shooter with bad shot selection. A guy who could defend but does not...at all. A man who can finish games with the best of them and who rebounds with the worst of them. My plan is to try and revel in those good qualities and punch as few walls as possible in response to the bad ones. And maybe, just maybe if my hope that Crawford's game is best suited as a 6th man comes to fruition and my fear that Jamal is the worst defender in the league is roundly proven wrong (to the point where he is only below average), we might just find from possession to possession the Hawks have seriously upgraded their team.
Other player previews: Marvin Williams, Zaza Pachulia, Mo Evans, Mike Bibby