PHOENIX -- Newly acquired guard Jordan Crawford will make his debut with the Boston Celtics here Friday night against the Phoenix Suns. Crawford will wear No. 27.
“Just to come in, be myself, compete and help this team,” said Crawford, whom the Celtics received in a trade Thursday with Washington. “They are doing a great job, pulling out a lot of wins with a depleted lineup. Just come in and try to help with whatever they need.”
What the Celtics need is a scorer -- and that’s Crawford.
The Celtics acquired him by trading the expiring contract of injured guard Leandro Barbosa and center Jason Collins. Crawford, 24, averaged 13.2 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 3.7 assists in 43 games for Washington this season.
With the return of John Wall and the development of rookie Bradley Beal, Crawford was reluctant to accept a bench role and clashed with Wizards coach Randy Wittman.
Crawford said a change of scenery should help, especially to one with a veteran locker room and a winning team. Among those Celtics veterans is Kevin Garnett, whom Crawford had a well publicized run-in with during a pickup game during the lockout last year.
Garnett reportedly smacked Crawford’s head after the guard did a bit too much trash-talking on the court. Crawford downplayed the incident.
“It was never a thing. It was just basketball,” said Crawford. “Now we’re on the [same] team, hopefully I can help them.”
Added Crawford: “I think, just to see [Garnett’s] intensity every game, it should help you get up every game, allow you to bring your best. He’s been doing it for this long, so it’ll be great.”
Offense is Crawford’s speciality, not defense. He is also a shooter who lacks a conscious, meaning he’ll often shoot less-than-ideal shots.
“Listen, he’s a scorer,” coach Doc Rivers said. “Most scorers don’t have a conscious -- and that’s a good thing. What you try to teach him is the different between a good [shot] and a bad one.
“But you don’t want to take away –- if he’s a great scorer, great scorers make bad shots. So a lot of times you just live with it, unless you think it’s hurting the team.”
Defensively, Rivers said he won’t try to change Crawford’s identity; he’ll just insert him into the Celtics system.
Crawford said he was nervous when he found out he’d been traded to Boston.
“Boston Celtics,” he said. “That carries a lot of weight.”