HAWKSVILLE – Jamal Crawford was understandably a bit confused about his role as the Hawks’ sixth man after playing just 12 minutes in the season opener.
A prolific scorer sitting on the bench for most of a track meet that ended in a 120-109 win for the Hawks didn’t make much sense to anyone else either, including Hawks coach Mike Woodson.
So he did what any reasonable people manager would do, he called Crawford into his office Thursday (well before tonight’s game against Gilbert Arenas and the Wizards of Washington at Philips Arena) and dispensed a few words of wisdom.
“I had to let him know that he is a big part of what we’re doing here,” Woodson said. “I can’t sit here and say, ‘Jamal I’m going to give you 35 minutes a game.’ But I have to make him more a part of what we’re doing, without a doubt. Because he has a position on this team where he can score the ball for us and be a big threat and take some of the pressure off of Joe [Johnson] and Mike [Bibby], Marvin [Williams], Josh [Smith] and Al [Horford]. He is coming off the bench and you need guys coming off the bench to score the ball. I’ve got to help him and put him in positions where he can be successful and help us win games.”
I asked someone to translate that from coach speak for me and apparently it means Woodson reminded Crawford that he’s a scorer first and foremost and not to lose that mentality, even when he comes off the bench. Crawford has shown off spectacular passing skills throughout the preseason and even in the opener. But the Hawks need him to do what comes naturally, and that’s score at will.
That sounds like a reasonable plan to me, especially with Arenas and the high-scoring Wizards in town.