I would first like to point out that from a team perspective, I don’t have a problem with the actual move of trading Jordan Crawford to the Boston Celtics. Sure I would have liked to see a little better return than Leandro Barbosa’s busted knee and Jason Collins, but I understand why the Wizards made the move. Crawford, while talented, does not fit into the team concept Washington is trying to build, and he just happens to play the same shooting guard position that the team’s brightest young player in Bradley Beal plays. As pointed out by Michael Lee on twitter, the Wizards went 1-11 in the 12 games Jordan Crawford started, and when he led the team in scoring they were 5-12. So while he clearly has talent, that talent was not translating to wins on the floor. The team was and is better off giving as many minutes to Beal to continue to develop as they can, thus the move is a sort of addition by subtraction — which has basically been the Wizards’ modus operandi these past few years.
The move had to be made, I understand that. But here is my problem with the Jordan Crawford trade.
The Wizards organization just can not get a grasp of what to do with their young players. They overvalue their young talent to the point where they miss out on better deals they could have made. They hold on to players too long to the point where they completely lose value. A few recent examples of this are Nick Young, JaVale McGee, and Andray Blatche. Young had a higher value the year before he was traded, and the Wizards held on too long. Same with McGee. In terms of Blatche, his value was never higher then the end of the 2010-2011 season when he finished the final 8 games of the year averaging 23.6 points and 10.3 rebounds.
I can’t sit here and tell you I would be able to trade a young player coming off this type of play, but that is not my job. I am just using these as examples of how the Wizards continually make the wrong decision on their young players. A team with good talent evaluators, good scouts, good coaches, good player development people, and a good GM know what kind of player they have. The Wizards are not that team, and they have proven that over and over again.
In the case of Jordan Crawford, they managed to take a player who has some value across the league — especially for teams looking for bench scoring — and make him utterly worthless in a trade. Crawford certainly has loads more talent then an injured Barbosa and a 34 year old Collins. But Washington crushed his value to the point where that is more than likely the only thing they could get. It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that if you are going to try and make a trade, it is probably best to get the maximum value out of your asset to get the best return. Instead, the Wizards did the exact opposite.
Crawford had some unproductive games to finish out January and a couple to start out February before he found his way to coach Randy Wittman’s doghouse. He played under 6 minutes for the next two games, before ultimately being benched for the final 4 games of his Wizards career. I just cannot seem to figure out a way that completely benching a player before you make it known that you would like to trade him makes any sense. It doesn’t. It doesn’t make sense from a business standpoint or from a basketball standpoint. That is like being the guy in fantasy football who tries to convince everyone that a certain player on their team who is not good has value and they should trade for him. If you know you are going to be trading a guy, or even thinking about it, why not try and “showcase” that player before making the deal? Let him get some extended run and hope he produces. It can’t be any worse than how they actually handled it. The Wizards somehow did the complete opposite of what normal teams would do. They took a player who had value, destroyed that value, and then traded him for pennies on the dollar.
Again, I understand the trade had to be made. But I just can’t get past how the Wizards constantly mishandle the dealings of their young players. Washington had a chance to get something out of a player that they no longer saw in their future plans, and they failed…..again.
It starts at the top of the organization, and without any major shakes with the people running the team, there is no reason to expect these types of things to stop any time soon.