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Bill Russell signs off on Jamal Crawford NBA comeback tour

Bill Russell, Jamal Crawford, NBA

Count Bill Russell as one of many people clamoring for the return of J-Crossover, Jamal Crawford, to the NBA.

Responding to a tweet from Whistle Sports asking about Crawford’s handles, Russell had this to say:

Crawford has built a career out of scoring and handling the ball. He averaged 14.6 points per game in his entire career, most of them self-created shots that he generates from the bench. Crawford was the quintessential sixth-man: a scoring dynamo that comes off the bench to boost the offensive output of the lineup when the starting five is not playing well. He earned three Sixth Man of the Year awards in his career, with some people even wanting the award to be named after him.

Bill Russell clearly knows what he’s talking about. He’s an NBA legend, a 11-time champion who knows what it takes to win it all. He’s also right about Crawford having arguably the best handles of all-time. However, it might not be feasible for Crawford or for any team to sign him to a contract.

Crawford is 41 years old, and his last few stints in the NBA for the Nets, the Suns, and the Wolves made that painfully evident. The handle and the shooting was still there for the most part, but he was noticeably slower and couldn’t get by his man often. His slowness also amplified his major weakness: his defense. Nowadays, in the space-heavy NBA, players need to be able to stick by their man and not be exploited on defense. Crawford being a black hole on defense nullifies any positive he might have on offense.

Nonetheless, Russell is right that he deserves a chance to be in the NBA. Heck, Kevin Durant wanted him back for their already stacked team! It’s just incredibly unlikely, given his age, but stranger things have happened.