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SI's Lowe: What's with the Jamal Crawford love?

Fresh off Kris Willis' apparently timely piece this morning on potential destinations for soon-to-be-free-agent Jamal Crawford, and the sidebar P-Hoops poll asking you, our beloved reader, if you would bring back Crawford given Willis' contractual parameters, (deep breath) Sports Illustrated's online columnist, the talented Zach Lowe, wonders aloud about why teams are interested in the c-razy shooting guard.

Is there an echo in here?

Crawford, however, has helped his team's offense in most of those seasons, including the last two in Atlanta, where the Hawks scored about five more points per 100 possessions on average with the him on the court. Some of that, again, has to do with context. Crawford usually replaced Marvin Williams, Mike Bibby or Jeff Teague - three guys who haven't offered much scoring punch over those two seasons, save for Teague's nice 2010-11 postseason.

Still, Crawford is, by any measure, a borderline inefficient scorer who gets lost too easily on defense - both on and off the ball. And he's nearly 32 years old. Should all these teams really be chasing him?

Not to follow an echo with another echo, but Crawford would be terrific for the Hawks, at the right price and contract length. Lowe points out in his article that Jamal fits best on a true title contender, something the Hawks can't even fantasize about given their roster structure and cap situation. Given that a couple may already be in the mix, pending all financially related blah-blah-blahs from a future CBA, Crawford may already be outside of that "right price and contract length" territory already for the good guys. Add-in that now Jamal has the "Playoff Veteran" seal of established approval, and we can strike through the may in the previous sentence.

Jamal has been effective for the Hawks and was better when used in larger doses under Mike Woodson than his role on last year's Larry Drew team. Drew's insistence on making Jamal the backup point guard and the associated offensive structure that limited his shot attempts in some games, also brought Crawford back down to the average level of efficiency his career has developed over his NBA tenure.

Given that Larry Drew will be the coach next year, and that would likely mean another year of the somewhat-out-of-position Jamal Crawford, and the likely price tag that will ensue over multiple seasons, and its likely best that Jamal land on one of those contenders.

Preferably somewhere his 4-point plays make me applaud instead of feeling their sting.

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