With the season winding down, Atlanta Hawks sixth man Jamal Crawford seems to be getting more comfortable with his role in first year coach Larry Drew’s motion offense.
After having one of the best seasons of his career last year, Crawford is experiencing a bit of a drop off. Last season, Crawford averaged 18 points while shooting 44.9 percent from the field while this year he is averaging 14.1 on 41.6 percent shooting.
Some might be inclined to point the finger at Drew’s new system which has limited the amount of isolations the team runs. This could also account for the slump the Hawks’ other iso specialist, Joe Johnson, is having but Drew said that he has begged Crawford to be more aggressive when he enters the game and he said he is happy with what he has seen over the past couple of games.
“In [Crawford's] last couple of games I think he has come out with the aggression that I know I have been looking for,” Drew said before Tuesday night’s contest against San Antonio. “I told him, every time he steps out on that floor I want him to have an attack mentality. That doesn’t mean shoot it every time, that means being aggressive when the ball is in his hands.”
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Others might wonder if confidence is causing Crawford’s slump. This would make sense considering Crawford’s shooting percentage is down, including his shooting from deep as he is on pace to have his worst year from the three point line since the 2006-2007 season.
However, Crawford said confidence is never an issue.
“My confidence never left,” Crawford told HOOPSADDICT.com. “Its just about getting opportunities. I think with us having an equal opportunity offense some nights its your night, some nights its not. Some nights you can be more aggressive and some nights you have to be a facilitator so that’s just what I’m trying to do.”
The Hawks may have found the proper balance as Crawford has bounced back, averaging 18.3 points over the last three games after averaging just 10.5 points during the month of March.
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In Last night’s loss against the Spurs, it took Crawford just four and a half minutes to hoist and knock down three jump shots and he did not stop there as finished the contest with 20 points on 8-13 shooting.
With just four games left in the regular season, Drew seems enthused by what he has seen from his sixth man and Crawford said he doesn’t plan on slowing down.
“You can’t let your highs get you high or your lows get you low,” Crawford said. “We have to just stay on course and finish the season strong with some momentum and then the playoffs are a whole different season.”