No. 3: Jamal Crawford
It could be a bit of a hot take during the NBA’s analytics climate, but let’s throw this out: it shouldn’t have taken the idea of a roster expansion for Jamal Crawford to be on an active roster. There are potential drawbacks to having a soon-to-be 40-year-old on a roster, but that would be ignoring how gracefully Crawford’s game has aged.
The NBA isn’t even two years removed from Crawford’s 50-point performance — in which became the oldest player to ever produce a game of that stature. His innate ability to create his own shot and heat up quickly could do wonders for a team on those nights where the NBA’s safety and protocol procedures leave them shorthanded and in dire need of offense.
It’s unclear as to if Portland would provide him a second chance, especially after the accusations that Crawford, among a few others, organized the mutiny against former head coach Nate McMillan.
But, that was a different regime. With Crawford apparently motivated and hungry to get back into the league, it’s difficult to imagine him stirring the pit in any way.
This comes under the caveat that a player such as, say, Anfernee Simons or one of Portland’s backcourt stars are unable to play. Crawford is a capable, seasoned scorer that wouldn’t force too much of a change of pace from what the Blazers already do.
He quietly put together his best assist rate since 2002-03 during his last real hurrah in the NBA in 2018-19, and his true shooting percentages remain about where they’ve always been.
Of course, Portland would have to think deeply about what lineups they put in him, and provide him with capable help defenders.
But, he has that scorer’s mentality that Olshey-based teams have been magnetized to. And that makes carving out a role for him all the more simplistic if the time comes.