ATLANTA, GA - MAY 12: Jamal Crawford #11 of the Atlanta Hawks drives against Omer Asik #3 and Taj Gibson #22 of the Chicago Bulls in Game Six of the Eastern Conference Semifinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at Phillips Arena on May 12, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Portland Trail Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge has continually campaigned for the team to sign free agent guard Jamal Crawford, most recently of the Atlanta Hawks. He's not alone. Miami Heat All-Star forward LeBron James has done the same.
Zach Lowe of SI.com investigates the idea, arguing that Crawford - who he calls "a borderline inefficient scorer who gets lost too easily on defense" - makes the most sense for title contenders. But he's not totally against the fit in Portland.
Portland, in this sense, is an interesting case. It doesn't feel like a contender, but it has one of the game's rising stars in Aldridge, some interesting building blocks who figure to improve (Wesley Matthews and Nic Batum) and two massive question marks (Brandon Roy and Greg Oden, an amnesty candidate and restricted free agent, respectively). It also gave Dallas a more difficult postseason struggle than any other Western Conference team, and it looked dangerous after acquiring Gerald Wallace at the trade deadline. If Roy continues to be a non-factor (either via injury or amnesty), the Trail Blazers could use some off-the-dribble creativity on the wing and behind Raymond Felton at point guard; Batum has never flourished with the ball, and Matthews is still refining that part of his game.
Crawford, for his warts, is a capable pick-and-roll player, and he ran a nice pick-and-pop with Al Horford, which he could duplicate with Aldridge.
Here's Aldridge's recent assessment of the potential acquisition.
"I would love for him to come play in Portland. I put it out there so he knows I'm serious. If he really wants to do that, I wanted him to know I'm behind it.
"He's a really good player. He doesn't mind coming off the bench. Or starting. He can bring a different dynamic to the team. He's great at pick and rolls; he's a really good shooter. When I get double teamed, it would leave him open in the corner."
Crawford, a Seattle native, is scheduled to play in Aldridge's charity game at the University of Portland this Sunday.
-- Ben Golliver | email@example.com | Twitter