Washington Wizards guard Jordan Crawford tells Eurobasket he wasn't surprised Flip Saunders was fired, expects his team to make the playoffs, is certain Kobe Bryant's the best player in the world, and talks about his older brother Joe's, career in Israel.
After a strong finish last year, the Washington Wizards sophomore guard Jordan Crawford, wasn't aware that playing in the NBA from the get-go, gets somewhat tiring. 'In terms of playing, this season has been a lot different,' Crawford exclusively told Eurobasket, enjoying his day off from the office.
'Around this time last year I wasn't playing at all. I only played 26 games when I really was a factor, so this season feels like it's been going on for a long time and we've only played less than a third of the games.' Crawford said.
Crawford also revealed he wasn't completely surprised when General Manager Ernie Grunfeld relieved Flip Saunders from his coaching position, 'It was kind of expected with the way things were going. You just got to deal with the situation and that's what we're doing right now.' When referring to the Wizards' future, Crawford didn't hesitate, setting high standers for him and his teammates. 'If everyone believes it's possible, we definitely have a chance to make the playoffs. The East isn't that strong, and as a team we're getting much closer and playing better.'
Surprisingly, while most basketball players look to mimic Michael Jordan, Crawford's older brother and childhood idol Joe, is undergoing his own hardwood battles in the Israeli league, 6,000 miles away.
After playing college hoops alongside Rajon Rondo, then excelling in the D-League, Joe was tabbed by the New York Knicks; however, with Chris Duhon, Larry Hughes, Nate Robinson and young draftee Toney Douglas on the roster, Crawford's aim was simply to prove he belonged. 'It's hard getting a real playing opportunity in the NBA,' said Washington's Crawford, explaining why his brother didn't get a fair chance in the league. 'Sometimes, like in Joe's situation, you're in a tough position and you just never get your chance.' Crawford continued, 'The NBA isn't really about how good you are. It's about opportunities, luck and basically if someone gives you a chance to play. There's some politics to it, but it all comes down to being in the right place at the right time.'
Meanwhile, in Israel, after losing Dwayne Mitchell (last season's MVP) to Ashkelon, Maccabi Rishon explored the free agent market earlier this summer inquest of a talent that will lead the organization to back-to-back domestic league final four appearances, and become the face of its new era.
Jordan's older brother Joe, a 25-year-old Wildcat alumnus appears to have developed into that person.
Nearly 5-monts after landing in Israel, Crawford's ranked fourth in league in scoring, averaging just below 20 points per game, earning this week's Israeli League Player of the Week honors after dropping 29 points on 3-6 shooting from deep, in addition to drawing 8 fouls from the league's second best defensive team, BC Habikaa. Rishon, currently standing fourth in the Israeli association, has already qualified for the State-Cup Final Four in February.
During the recent NBA lockout, Crawford (Jordan) was intrigued by the possibility of joining his older brother in Israel, 'I already began receiving offers to go abroad but I wanted to go to Israel to be with Joe, see the sites and experience the culture.' Yet, it was Joe who told his brother to stay home, develop his game and keep the no-days-off mindset that led him to last season's success. Behind closed doors, Crawford still 'plans to make a trip out there around May with my parents.'
Regarding the differences and similarities in each others' games the NBAer said, 'We kind of play a similar game but then again we do things differently. We're comparable in the way we get to the hole but Joe's stronger then I am. He also shoots better than I do now. I'm more of a crafty player and try to wiggle my way through people.'
Back to the U.S. - Crawford shed some light on his 'better then Michael Jordan' comment, 'What's the point of playing basketball for your career if you dont want to be better then who they call the greatest. Every time you're in a barber shop or anywhere people talk basketball, their talking about the greatest players. If you don't want to be mentioned in that conversation then you're doing it for nothing.'
When asked about the ongoing 'who's a better player, Kobe Bryant or Lebron James' debate, Crawford said, 'Kobe of course. From the players that don't play at all to the stars, everybody in the NBA is good. Everyone can compete with one another having a better night any time out, it just come downs to if you can do it every single night, and that's the difference between them.
Thomas' big 4th quarter carries Celtics past Hornets, 108-98 - 7 hours ago
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Isaiah Thomas (5'9''-PG-89, college: Washington) is even starting to amaze some of his teammates. Thomas scored 17 of his 35 points in the fourth quarter, and the surging Boston Celtics beat the Charlotte Hornets 108-98 on Monday night for their ninth victory in 11games. It was Thomas' 25th straight game with 20 or more points. He's been putting up big final quarters of late - scoring 20 or more three times this season. No other NBA player had done it more than once entering Monday. "Yeah... [read more]
Isaiah Thomas (5'9''-PG-89, college: Washington) is even starting to amaze some of his teammates. Thomas scored 17 of his 35 points in the fourth quarter, and the surging Boston Celtics beat the Charlotte Hornets 108-98 on Monday night for their ninth victory in 11games. It was Thomas' 25th straight game with 20 or more points. He's been putting up big final quarters of late - scoring 20 or more three times this season. No other NBA player had done it more than once entering Monday. "Yeah, he's a special, special player, obviously," Boston forward Kelly Olynyk (7'0''-PF-91, college: Gonzaga) said. "I don't know if there's another person in the world doing what he's doing. It's unfathomable to sit there and watch every night." Alfred Horford (6'10''-F/C-86, college: Florida) had 22 points, while Olynyk and Jae Crowder (6'6''-F-90, college: Marquette) added 15 apiece for Boston, which has won all three meetings with Charlotte this season. But it was Thomas' late-game performance that kept the Celtics rolling. He credited his teammates for setting him up well in the fourth. "I'm in a really good place right now," he said. "My teammates put me in a position to be me and that's all I can say." He even heard chants of "MVP! MVP!" late in the game. "They're pretty cool. It just doesn't seem real for them to be chanting MVP to me in (TD) Garden," he said. "It's a feeling I can't explain." Kemba Walker (6'1''-PG-90, college: Connecticut) scored 24 points and Marvin Williams (6'9''-F-86, college: N.Carolina) had 21 for the Hornets, who lost their fifth straight - all on the road. "We had things in to get the ball out of his hands, but the way they played, the stuff that they usually go to late, they didn't get to," Charlotte coach Steve Clifford said of trying to stop Thomas. "He made some terrific plays. He's a terrific offensive player." Thomas scored 13 straight points, pushing Boston ahead 93-83 with his 3-pointer from the left wing with 7 minutes left. "He's been playing as well as anyone in our league," Walker said of the 5-foot-9 Thomas. "He's playing with great confidence, making the plays for his team to win games. So, he's been great." Boston led 80-71 entering the final period. Courtesy of: cnsnews.com
Warriors dominate Cavaliers 126-91 in rematch blowout - 7 hours ago
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Stephen Curry (6'3''-PG-88, college: Davidson) and the Golden State Warriors certainly looked ready to trade some more blows with LeBron James(6'8''-SF-84) and the Cleveland Cavaliers come June. The two-time reigning MVP hit five 3-pointers and had 20 points while matching his season best with 11 assists in Golden State's 126-91 rout of the defending champs Monday. Klay Thompson (6'7''-G-90, college: Washington St.) scored 26 points with five 3s, and Curry made four steals. Draymond Green... [read more]
Stephen Curry (6'3''-PG-88, college: Davidson) and the Golden State Warriors certainly looked ready to trade some more blows with LeBron James (6'8''-SF-84) and the Cleveland Cavaliers come June. The two-time reigning MVP hit five 3-pointers and had 20 points while matching his season best with 11 assists in Golden State's 126-91 rout of the defending champs Monday. Klay Thompson (6'7''-G-90, college: Washington St.) scored 26 points with five 3s, and Curry made four steals. Draymond Green (6'7''-F-90, college: Michigan St.) produced his third triple-double of the season with 11 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists while matching his career best with five blocks - and had another dustup with King James in the process. James had 20 points on 6-of-18 shooting and eight rebounds, and he and Green became the talk once more as their relationship turned even more testy. Kevin Durant (6'9''-SF-88, college: Texas) added 21 points, six rebounds, five assists and three blocks for the Warriors in a much-hyped matchup merely weeks after Golden State lost 109-108 in Cleveland on Christmas. Courtesy of: abc7news.com
NBA Expansion Looming With Two New Franchises - 20 hours ago
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With the new Collective Bargaining Agreement complete, the next order of business for the NBA to continue capitalizing on the remarkable growth of the game is expansion. And it is coming on the horizon sooner than many think. Sources have told 16 Wins a Ring that expansion is being talked about more seriously at this point than at any other time recently. The league's first priority was to complete the CBA, but with the game in such a healthy place monetarily, and the talent level higher... [read more]
With the new Collective Bargaining Agreement complete, the next order of business for the NBA to continue capitalizing on the remarkable growth of the game is expansion. And it is coming on the horizon sooner than many think. Sources have told 16 Wins a Ring that expansion is being talked about more seriously at this point than at any other time recently. The league's first priority was to complete the CBA, but with the game in such a healthy place monetarily, and the talent level higher than it ever has been, expansion is now the focus of the league office. The earliest the league would expand is for the 2018-19 season, but that 2019-20 is more likely according to sources. It has even been hinted that the new CBA rules around making it more lucrative for free agents to remain with their current teams could help expansion teams hold on to talent and be competitive quicker than ever. The front running cities in talks are Seattle and Mexico City, with Louisville still very much in the picture. The former NBA city of Seattle has always been on the NBA's radar, with Adam Silver determined to fix the error of letting the city lose its franchise. League sources say Silver has said privately that Seattle is a lock for one of the spots, unless the city itself can't sort its arena issues. Silver has been frustrated by Seattle Mayor Ed Murray's ducking of his calls and meeting requests. A source divulged that Adam Silver and the league have attempted to contact the city of Seattle on multiple occasions with no call backs. The league has wanted to help push their arena efforts forward, but the city has seemingly not appeared fully invested. In the one face-to-face meeting that Seattle Mayor Ed Murray had with Adam Silver (two years ago), he was surprisingly unprepared for the basic questions that the league had asked him to prepare for and was more interested in talking about the NHL. Until recently, the city has appeared apprehensive to the league's approaches. Mexico City's bid to bring a franchise south of the border has gained momentum in recent years, especially following two strong outings in games just this week with sellout crowds in attendance. Adam Silver spent time with Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and business magnate Carlos Slim this past weekend. Slim is a big part of the group behind the Mexico City push and fronts their consortium. The other cities mentioned prominently have been Louisville, Las Vegas and Vancouver, though only Louisville is considered a serious contender as it stands right now. They have a meeting with the league on Tuesday and still have a foothold in proceedings. The league would ideally like to bring two franchises in that could take up residence in the Western Conference, with the Memphis Grizzlies moving to the Eastern Conference. How this would impact divisions and schedule remains to be seen, but there is growing talk of having two 16 team conferences with no divisions. Courtesy of: 16winsaring.com
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