After more than a year away from the NBA, Jamal Crawford will be one of the oldest players in Orlando when he takes the court for the Nets, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post. Crawford, who joined his ninth team when he signed with Brooklyn earlier this week, credits a focus on his health with helping to extend his career.
“My wife changed my diet a few years ago, and that was huge,’’ Crawford said. “And I’m just staying in love with the game. I didn’t turn 40. I turned 20 twice.’’
It’s not clear what Crawford’s role will be when the season resumes, but his veteran presence might be important on a team that is projected to start Chris Chiozza at point guard after losing Kyrie Irving and Spencer Dinwiddie. Berman states that Crawford may be in line for a role on next year’s Nets team, which could be among the title favorites once Kevin Durant returns.
“The Knicks were one of my favorite places to play — just the energy of the New York fans in general is amazing,’’ Crawford said, recalling a four-year stint in New York early in his career. “I’m sure with the Nets, that energy is amazing as well. The fans in that area are so passionate, and so knowledgeable.”
There’s more on the Nets:
- After playing a back-up role for most of the season, Rodions Kurucs seems ticketed for the starting lineup, Berman notes in a separate story. On a depleted roster, the only serious challenger at power forward appears to be veteran Michael Beasley, who will sit out the first five games due to a drug suspension. Kurucs has fond memories of his new teammate. “He’s a great player,’’ Kurucs said. “I was watching him when he played in New York. When he was doing really great, I was watching him. He was one of my favorite players when he played with the Knicks back then.”
- With so many teammates either out for health reasons or choosing not to play in Orlando, Caris LeVert appears comfortable stepping into a starring role, Berman adds in the same piece. “I think he just has that different swagger about himself,’’ coach Jacque Vaughn said. “He’s put in work individually on his game during this hiatus, I think you can sense it in the way his shoulders are in the way he’s carrying himself. He’s eye contact, his leadership, he would be a guy that initially has looked really good.”
- Chiozza likes the addition of big man Donta Hall, whom he faced frequently in college and the G League, tweets Brian Lewis of The New York Post. “His athleticism is off the charts. That’s going to help us,” Chiozza said. “He’s like (Jarrett Allen).”