With four games left on the schedule, the New Orleans Pelicans were confronted with the possibility of needing to travail the final week of the regular season without reserve scorer Ian Clark; however, just a few hours later, we learned that help is on the way.
Following today’s practice, Head Coach Alvin Gentry updated the media as to Clark’s condition: “He did the MRI. He’s probably going to be out anywhere from like five to ten days.”
Clark had been extremely productive of late, averaging 11.0 points and close to two rebounds, two assists and one three-pointer in about 24 minutes of action since the start of March. Also, with the Pelicans current position of eighth in the Western Conference standings, it’s imperative for New Orleans to win three of their remaining four games so as to control their own destiny. With contests left against the Warriors, Clippers and Spurs — teams all still vying for the playoffs — the loss of Clark loomed large.
As Kevin, Preston and I discussed in a podcast this morning, there’s no one else on the roster who can replace that type of production off the bench. Consequently, it’s great to hear that General Manager Dell Demps thought similarly and decided to act accordingly.
Source: Pelicans will sign Jordan Crawford.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) April 5, 2018
Michael Jordan Crawford needs no introduction among Pelican faithful. He arrived on the scene last season and proceeded to average 14.1 points, 3.0 assists and 1.9 threes over the team’s remaining 19 games. Crawford’s efficiency was a revelation, regardless of how dismal his defense often looked.
Many assumed after last season’s showing, Crawford would return for this campaign and be a reliable contributor. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out that way. With Rajon Rondo out with an core muscle injury to start the 2017-18 season, New Orleans needed another point guard alongside Jrue Holiday. Crawford was waived before his contract guaranteed and Jameer Nelson replaced him on the roster.
Since then, the Pelicans have cycled through a lot of guards once Nelson was traded to the Chicago Bulls at the deadline in the Nikola Mirotic deal. Mike James, Walt Lemon Jr. and Larry Drew II, all had turns but failed to live up to any expectations. Coincidentally, Drew’s 2nd 10-day contract ended today and thus opened up a spot on the roster.
Will Crawford be a difference maker?
That’s impossible to say, given he hasn’t played against NBA-level competition since last October, and shooters, by nature, are streaky. That said, Crawford represents a smart gamble, and several of us here at The Bird Writes have been clamoring for his addition to the roster for over the last few months, including this insightful article by Preston.
Welcome back, Instant Grits, and may those jumpers remain as wet as we all remember!