Jordan Crawford Looks to Make NBA Comeback with the Grand Rapids Drive
The Detroit Pistons NBA D-League affiliate, the Grand Rapids Drive, made a major acquisition on Wednesday. The Drive who previously owned the 5th and 6th pick in the 2016 D-League Draft, after trading the player rights of Henry Sims to the Salt Lake City Stars for the 5th pick in the draft on last Sunday. Loaded with two high picks in the draft, the Drive did not stand pat.
It was then reported by D-League aficionado, Chris Reichert, that Crawford would indeed start the season with the Drive.
Crawford is an exciting player. He spent last season in China with the Tianjin Gold Lions. He played 26 games with them last season, scoring at a prolific rate. He averaged 43.1 points per game in 37.8 minutes per game last season. He also averaged 6.4 rebounds, two assists, and 1.9 steals per game. While his scoring average may suggest his efficiency may have struggled, that is not the case with Crawford. He shot 48.3% from the field, and 34.5% from the three-point line. While he is no marksmen by any means from deep, he was still a respectable shooter from the three-point line. Crawford’s play was excellent, as he was able to showcase what he brings to the court.
The 431 points he averaged last season pale in comparison to the game he had on January 8th last season. He shot 25-52 from the field, scoring 72 points in a Gold Lions loss to the Sichuan Blue Whales. Not only did he score 72 points, but he also grabbed 16 rebounds in the game.
He spent time at both Indiana and Xavier in college, before being drafted by the New Jersey Nets in the 2010 NBA Draft.
The Drive struggled last season, posting a 21-29 record, good for 8th place in the Eastern Conference. They had multiple fringe NBA players on their roster at times, but either lost them to NBA call-ups or overseas deals. Lorenzo Brown, for example, spent nearly all of January with the Phoenix Suns but was unable to score a long-term deal with them. Then, the Pistons signed him on March 18th, and he spent the rest of the season with Detroit. The Drive also lost Henry Sims and Dahntay Jones to NBA deals. That left Devin Ebanks, Kammeon Holsey, and Kelsey Barlow as the mainstays that were rotation players for the Drive. Ebanks was the best player with the Drive, as he averaged 21.9 points and seven rebounds per game last season. Barlow averaged 12.5 points and 4.7 rebounds last season with Grand Rapids, as the number two option most of the time, with Brown, Sims, and Jones all spending time with NBA teams. Barlow was a nice option off the bench, as he averaged 8.2 points in 21.3 minutes per game.
Although Ebanks, Holsey, Barlow played well, the Drive lacked a true star. With Jordan Crawford, they get a guy that could be one of the best players in the D-League. With his prolific scoring ability, he will surely be a key piece for a Drive team looking to compete in their third year of existence.
At 27, Crawford is still attempting to return to the NBA. He worked out for multiple NBA teams over the summer, including the Pistons. Crawford has the talent to reach his goal of returning to the NBA, but for now, he is a member of the Grand Rapids Drive, a team who is hoping Crawford will have significant success with.
Featured image: Jerome Miron, USA TODAY Sports