Jamal's Slow Start Should Not Come As A Surprise
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  1. DHawes22
    Posts: 6488

    Posted 01/20/2012 12:38 PM

    Via Jason Quick of the Oregonian-
     Through the first 14 games of this Trail Blazers season, the team's big free-agent acquisition has found himself stuck wondering whether he should shoot, or whether he should pass. He has been caught between being himself – freelancing with some shake-and-bake moves – or being what he thinks his coach wants – to set up a play and execute. Through it all, he has worried whether he is stepping on the toes of his teammates by taking shots.
     It also produced a smirk and a chuckle from Joe Johnson inside the Atlanta Hawks' locker room.

    "I'm pretty sure I understand what he is going through," Johnson said.

    Johnson knows because he saw the same thing from Crawford two seasons ago when Crawford joined the Hawks. He was tentative. Afraid to ruffle feathers. And nowhere near the scoring tornado they had played against and watched for nearly a decade in the league.
    Inside the Blazers locker room, Crawford smiled Wednesday at the memory of Johnson's wakeup call.

    "This is a similar situation," Crawford said of his start in Portland. "Joe pulled me aside and said 'Man, forget that. You gotta be the player you have been. We can't have you just trying to fit in and tiptoe around. We need you to be the guy you have been; that's why we brought you here."  
     The acclimation of Crawford into the Blazers system figures to feature some cringes. He is notorious for taking a lot of shots, many of them ill-advised against good defense or from tough angles. Crawford refuses to call them bad shots, preferring rather to call them "tough" shots.

    "To the core, I'm a scorer," Crawford said. "And the thing that is a little unique about me is tough shots have never really been tough shots for me. And especially if you are not used to seeing it. I mean, even B-Roy would say 'That's a tough one 'Mal ... but you do make tough shots.' So it kind of comes with the territory."

    So it appears Crawford is a bit unsure of himself right now. It's not uncommon for a new player coming into a new system to not play 100% his style, his game all of the time. Hopefully for the Trail Blazers we have a person like Joe Johnson who will come over to him and let him know to just go out and play his game. Who will that player be now that Roy has retired? To me, this is LA's time to shine as a leader. Grab Crawford aside and just tell him to play within himself. There's a reason we brought him to Portland and that is to SCORE BUCKETS!

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