Jamal Crawford has always had the green light to shoot his shot.
The NBA free agent is tied for 21st in league history with four 50-point games to his name, and Crawford never has averaged fewer than five field-goal attempts per game in a single season. With that context in mind, how would you read Crawford's tweeted observation from the Warriors' preseason opener Saturday?
With no Klay, Warriors will need someone to be consistent third guy ( scoring wise) to be competitive in the West..— 🏁 Jamal Crawford (@JCrossover) October 6, 2019
Now Crawford, 39, could be preparing for life off the court by honing his analysis. The Warriors certainly hope Draymond Green can fill the scoring void behind Steph Curry and D'Angelo Russell while Klay Thompson rehabs his torn ACL. Green is working to regain his 3-point shot and return to his 2015-16 heights, but at age 29, he is four years older than he was when he averaged a career-high 14.0 points per game during Golden State's 73-9 season.
Behind Green, though, there isn't much to inspire confidence as a potential No. 3 scoring option. Rookies Jordan Poole and Eric Paschall are still learning the ins and outs of the NBA, and the same can be said of second-year pro Jacob Evans. Free-agent signee Alec Burks hasn't been a double-digit scorer over a full season since 2015-16, and Kevon Looney hasn't at any point in his four-year NBA career.
If Crawford's observation had an ulterior motive, it's not likely he would be a much better option. He turns 40 in March, and his scoring averages have decreased in each of the last five seasons. Even if Crawford still could be a top option, the Warriors' contract situation all but rules out a reunion with the one-time Golden State guard.
No matter Crawford's intention, though, who emerges behind Curry and Russell will be worth watching as the Warriors settle into their new reality without Thompson and with Kevin Durant in Brooklyn.