Clippers’ Jamal Crawford credits Doc Rivers, teammates for second 6th man of the year honor

first_imgIn a moment when Jamal Crawford could have basked in the spotlight cast upon him, the Clippers guard insisted on including others.Crawford was presented with the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year award for the second time in his 14-year career, an honor only three other players (Kevin McHale, Ricky Pierce and Detlef Schremf) have won twice in league history. But instead of talking about his league-leading 18.6 points per game average among reserves, Crawford used his platform at the Clippers’ practice facility Wednesday to thank everyone else.That included everyone from public relation officials, his agent, his brother Isiah, equipment managers, trainers, teammates and coach Doc Rivers, whom Crawford likened as “the best leader” and “our MVP.”“I didn’t know what a family was on the court until I got with these guys,” Crawford said at the Clippers’ practice facility in Playa Vista. “Those guys, they make me feel welcome. I honestly think everything we go through, we go through together. We’re a family. That’s why I wanted to recognize everybody.” “I felt like this year I’m better than I’ve ever been,” Crawford said. “That’s a credit to my coaching staff and teammates. I care about defense. If I’m in the wrong spot, I usually thought I’ll outscore that guy. Now, if I make a defensive mistake, I’m upset with myself.”The Clippers had hoped to honor Crawford earlier but held off because of the initial fallout surrounding the racially insensitive remarks embattled owner Donald Sterling made on an audiotape. Yet, amid concerns whether Sterling’s wife Shelly will retain ownership of the team, Crawford still vowed he would like to stay here beyond when his contract ends next season. That’s because for as much as he appeared in high spirits over winning an award, Crawford sounded happier that he won it with the Clippers. “As long as I’m with this group of guys, and with Doc leading us, everything else will work itself out,” Crawford said. “You can’t worry about what you can’t control, but the feeling I have when I’m with these guys and this group is nothing like I’ve ever experienced in my basketball life. “They’ve made me a better player on the basketball court. I’m obviously a more well-rounded player. And I think I’ve become a better person off the court because of it. So I wouldn’t want to change it for anything.” That explains why Crawford enters Friday’s Game 3 of the Clippers’ Western Conference semifinals series against the Oklahoma City Thunder (1-1) at Staples Center shrugging off his Game 2 performance, in which he shot 2 of 13 from the field. Crawford’s new mindset also explains how he morphed from a player intent on scoring binges into a complete player. “He’s a guy that can come in, change the game and help his team win,” Rivers said. “He did more than just come in and score. That’s important. That’s what he does. He’s a lethal scorer and we wanted him to do that, and we did that. But he adds more value when he does other things. That’s what makes him so good.”Crawford fulfilled that job description in various ways. He played at point guard when Chris Paul sat for seven weeks because of a right shoulder injury. Rivers considers Crawford as the team’s best passer. Despite Crawford missing nine games late in the season because of a strained left calf, Rivers senses his rhythm and confidence has since returned.And, of course, he has scored a lot. Crawford has an NBA-record 41 four-point plays in a regular season, which he attributes to “a crazy shot selection” that confuses defenders. He set the team record for more 3-pointers made in a season (161). And Crawford’s third-place showing in team scoring entailed cracking at least 10 points in 31 games, at least 20 points in 23 games and 30 points in at least six games. center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img

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