According to Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times, the L.A. Clippers have addressed their need for a shooting guard in a major way. Their solution, however, comes as a surprise, as they signed both Chauncey Billups and Jamal Crawford to deals—two players who, it could be argued, are better for the point.
In turn, the Clippers have effectively eliminated themselves from the chase for Ray Allen. As Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com notes, the Clippers have canceled their visit with the future Hall of Famer.
LA Times reports Clips have deals w/Jamal Crawford & Chauncey Billups; cancel Ray Allen visit. Appears to be down to BOS or MIA for Ray— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) July 5, 2012
This comes as a surprise to many, as the Clippers' greatest need was the presence of a consistent shooter on the perimeter. While Billups could fit the bill, Crawford is coming off a season in which he shot just 30.8 percent from distance—the worst mark of his 12-year career.
As Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports reports, the Clippers feel that was simply a fluke, as Crawford just so happens to be on the receiving end of a lofty contract.
Guard Jamal Crawford's deal done and he will get a four-year, $25 million deal (with bonuses) from Clippers, sources told Yahoo!— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) July 5, 2012
With Crawford under contract, the possibilities are limitless.
Crawford is an excellent ball-handler who thrives creating his own shot. He can attack the basket as well as any in the game and gets to the line with efficiency. Once he's there, Crawford is lights out: He led the NBA in 2012 by shooting 92.7 percent from the charity stripe.
Unfortunately, these traits do not translate well to the Clippers' style of play.
While Crawford may thrive with the ball in his hands, he's also the type of player who struggles without it. His ability to move without the basketball is subpar at best, and his ability to shoot off the catch is far from his strong suit.
As a result, Crawford will likely find himself in situations in which he runs the point with the reserves. This thrusts Eric Bledsoe into a position of playing without the ball in his hands, thus stunting his growth as a player.
Fortunately, there is an upside.
Due to the fact that Crawford is excellent off the dribble and even better at finishing around the basket, defenses are likely to close out on him any time he enters the paint. This opens the door for Blake Griffin to find even more looks near the basket, which in turn leads to more scoring opportunities.
To put it simply, you take the good with the bad.
Crawford will bring the Clippers a penetrating scoring presence that the second unit could have used in 2012. He also brings another capable ball-handler who can run a team while on the floor.
Unfortunately, he just isn't that great of a fit alongside their current group of players.
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