Does anyone need a three-time Sixth Man of the Year who’s still capable of a 50-point night? Jamal Crawford tells Shaun Powell of NBA.com that he’s working out in Seattle and trying to be ready in case an NBA team comes calling.
At age 39, Crawford isn’t ready to retire, not after putting up 51 points in the final game of last season. That capped off an uneven year in Phoenix where Crawford seemed out of place as a veteran on a rebuilding team. He averaged just 18.9 minutes per night and scored 7.9 PPG, the lowest since his rookie season in 2000/01.
Crawford watched two other veteran free agents get back in the league this week as Brooklyn signed Iman Shumpert and Portland reached a deal with Carmelo Anthony. Crawford tweeted messages of support for both players and hopes he’ll be next in line for an opportunity.
“I know I can play,” he said, “and I would think my reputation is still solid. It’s baffling to me.”
Crawford started last season as part of a group of veteran leaders in Phoenix. However, by mid-December, the Suns had traded Trevor Ariza and bought out Tyson Chandler, leaving Crawford alone in that role. He also played most of the year out of position, spending time at point guard where the Suns were desperate for help, rather than his natural position of shooting guard.
Still he had bursts of productivity that suggest he could still fill a role on an NBA roster. The 51-point night wasn’t a fluke, as he scored 19, 28 and 27 points in the three prior games.
“I’m kind of an outlier because you don’t see anyone my age having games like that,” Crawford said. “And I did it off the bench. A year earlier, in my 18th year, I was still averaging double figures. I can bring a multitude of things. I’ll be ready for whatever team decides how I can fit into what they’re trying to do.”
Summer was quiet for Crawford as the Suns moved in a different direction, and he didn’t receive even a text message from anyone during July’s free agency sweepstakes. He’s part of a large group of over-30 players still on the open market and notes that many teams take a “wait and see approach” with athletes once they reach a certain age.
Crawford understands that there are a limited number of roster spots available, but he hasn’t lost the belief that he belongs in the NBA. He plans to be ready if the chance arises.
“Physically, I feel better than I did last season,” he said. “I’m able to get my body together. My skill set is sharp. I feel that I’m good. My mindset is be patient and hopefully something good comes about it. I’ll be ready for the opportunity.”