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NBA Free Agents 2011: Why Should the Chicago Bulls Avoid Jamal Crawford?

ATLANTA, GA - MAY 06:  Jamal Crawford #11 of the Atlanta Hawks against the Chicago Bulls in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Semifinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at Phillips Arena on May 6, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Sunil RamCorrespondent IIDecember 1, 2011

The Chicago Bulls could really use a solid shooting guard to pair up in the backcourt alongside reigning MVP Derrick Rose. Keith Bogans is a serviceable role player, but it’s hard to make an argument that he’s a championship-level starting 2-guard.

31-year-old Jamal Crawford is not the answer, either.

Sure Crawford, who spent his first four seasons in Chicago, could alleviate some of the scoring burden placed on Rose. However, it’s very reasonable to believe the 11-year veteran would do more harm than good if he joined the Bulls.

Typically when a player has a down season after turning 30, it’s a warning sign of things to come. While Crawford’s field goal attempts per game were down last season, in comparison with the 2009-10 season, so was his scoring (18 to 14.2 points per game) and shooting percentage (44.9 to 42.1 percent).

Crawford is a high-volume shooter who has earned the label of ball-stopper, due to his tendency to isolate. According to si.com’s Zach Lowe, about 19 percent of the possessions Crawford used up last season came in isolation situations—which was a higher percentage than both Paul Pierce and Dwyane Wade.

He also provides very little on the defensive end. Of course, there’s a possibility that he could improve his game on the defensive end of the floor playing for a coach like Tom Thibodeau.

Still, would it be worth it for the Bulls to risk hoping that Crawford will buy into defense?

It’s never easy to (sorry for the cliché) teach an old dog new tricks. While the former University of Michigan star is by no means old, he’s been in the league for 11 seasons and has never shown much desire to stopping his man from scoring.

Crawford struggles with both on-ball and off-ball defense. Often, it takes just one well-placed screen, whether it comes on or off the ball, for him to get lost or out of position during the play.

While Jamal Crawford is certainly a talented shooting guard, there are better ways for the young and rising Chicago Bulls to address their weakest starting position.

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