In his three NBA seasons, Jordan Crawford has carved out a respectable niche for himself as a shoot-first, ask-questions-later two-guard who can get you a point pretty much every other minute.
But as our own intrepid Dave D'Onofrio beat me downcourt to point out, an NBA feat is not the first thing to cross a basketball fan's mind when Crawford's name is mentioned.
Unless he blossoms into a star in the NBA -- and given that he's essentially World B. Crawford, the shooting guard version of Brandon Bass, a useful scorer who isn't quite the weapon he thinks he is, it's probably not happening -- his hoops legacy as The College Kid Who Dunked On LeBron And Sent Nike Into Burn-The-Film Mode will permanently remain.
Which isn't a bad legacy to have, really. LeBron isn't embarrassed often these days, and Nike has never had much shame. It's a cool highlight, and the rare few who have clowned LeBron are always welcome on this roster. I'm curious how receptive Crawford is to talking about it these days.
As for what Crawford means to the Celtics, well, first of all, you have to like any deal in which you get a helpful player for an injured guy (Leandro Barbosa, who should be saluted for his fun, inspired play while he was here) and a tall guy (Jason Collins, who didn't do much other than ... um, stand tall.)
And he will be helpful. Crawford, 24, has averaged 13.4 points per game over 26.2 minutes in his career, and he's right around both numbers again this year. He plays with energy and great athleticism and should fit in well if Doc Rivers can convince him to play any defense at all. Then there's this:
Jordan Crawford is 1 of 7 players to average 18 pts, 5 ast, & 4 rebs per 36 min this season (LeBron, Wade, Kobe, Westbrook, Manu & Harden).— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) February 21, 2013
Some fine company there, and those are the numbers of a guy who should be able to fit in with the push-the-ball, move-the-ball, post-Rajon Rondo approach. Crawford, Avery Bradley, and Jeff Green would be pretty fun to watch play together when everything is clicking.
Maybe some are disappointed that after all of the buzz and hype and skepticism of Danny Ainge's declaration that a big trade was unlikely, Crawford is the extent of the Celtics' haul.
I'm not among them. Despite the suspense-free recent losses to the Nuggets and Lakers, a sign that the superb, free-flowing stretch of play after Rondo's season-ending knee injury is sustainable only to a certain degree, I'm glad Kevin Garnett isn't a Clipper and Paul Pierce isn't a Net and talented knuckleheads like Josh Smith, Tyreke Evans or DeMarcus Cousins aren't arriving to remind us of how lucky we have been to watch gifted players who don't waste their talent, but enhance it.
The Celtics aren't winning banner No. 18 this year. We can admit that, right? Nothing they could have done Thursday, save for a Dwight Howard deal that never seemed more than conjecture, was going to bring them any closer to that moment.
So I'll take a perceived dud of a trading deadline, an acquisition of a useful supporting player, and another 40 or so games of watching Garnett and Pierce team up to nobly fight off Father Time, and I'll consider it a good day.
I mean, you just couldn't let a loss to the Lakers be their final scene together, right?
About Touching All The Bases
Irreverence and insight from Chad Finn, a Globe/Boston.com sports writer and media columnist. A winner of several national and regional writing awards, he is the founder and sole contributor to the TATB blog, which launched in December 2004. Yes, he realizes how lucky he is.