Why Crawford could be a match for the Rockets
It’s important that we first mention that the Rockets don’t have a vacant roster spot as currently constructed, so there would have to be a corresponding move in order to sign Crawford. It would seem like Chris Clemons would be the person that would be waived, as like Hartenstein, his contract isn’t fully guaranteed for the 2020-21 season yet.
Clemons’ salary becomes fully guaranteed on January 10th, 2021, and he could be expendable if Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni returns next season, as he’s not turned to Clemons (or any other developmental player) much. At 6-foot-5, Crawford could play either guard position, which would obviously fit the Rockets’ presumed interest in a combo guard.
Crawford would also be a major upgrade over the aforementioned Tyler Johnson, who the Rockets had their sights set on. Both players were teammates during the 2018-19 season as members of the Phoenix Suns, and Crawford made a higher percentage of his 3-point shots, while also posting a higher true shooting percentage, which are both equally important for the Rockets’ style of play.
Granted, Crawford is a career 34.8 percent 3-point shooter, which is the definition of middle of the pack, and he made 33.2 percent of his treys last season, which is obviously lower, but let’s look at how he fared during the 2008-09 season when he last played with D’Antoni. During Crawford’s time with the Knicks that season (which is a small sample size), he made 45.5 percent of his treys, which is a career-high, on seven attempts per game.
Not to mention the fact that Crawford had a true shooting percentage of 57.1 percent during that season, which is second-best in his career. We also know that Morey values older veterans, as the Rockets are one of the oldest teams in the league, and Crawford certainly fits that bill at 40 years-of-age.
But Crawford would be one of the few players on the Rockets’ second-unit with the ability to set himself up for a shot, as opposed to having to be fed open looks from James Harden or Russell Westbrook. Sure, Crawford’s age means he’s certainly not a long-term option, which is the opposite of Nwaba, but Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey has previously explained the importance of going all in when you’re on the cusp of being a title team.
Adding Crawford for the playoffs could pay dividends, and especially considering that we’ve heard D’Antoni say that he’s open to playing deeper into his bench. It would especially be useful that the Rockets have eight games before the start of the postseason, which would allow Crawford to get back in rhythm in an NBA game.
Yes, I know it’s unlikely that the Rockets would make this move, but they could really do much worse.