The most common criticism that people have had against the Bulls this season has been their lack of a true scorer outside of Derrick Rose. Never was that more evident than in the last five minutes of regulation and overtime of Game 4, when Rose essentially went one-on-one with a much bigger LeBron James because nobody else on his team could create any shots without his help. The most glaring weakness is at the two guard spot, where the Bulls currently have a flawed three-man rotation there.
Keith Bogans has somehow been the starter for the entire season. He is an excellent defender and fits in well with Tom Thibodeau’s system but is not a starting caliber shooting guard. Ronnie Brewer is similar to Bogans: an excellent defender, but not a factor on offense. The third member of the shooting guard rotation is Kyle Korver. He is one of the NBA’s best shooters, but if his shot is off, like it has been in the playoffs, he is an absolute non-factor on the court. The Bulls need to add a new member to this rotation, and they should look no further than Jamal Crawford who is an unrestricted free agent this summer.
Crawford had the misfortune of playing in Chicago in the immediate aftermath of the Jordan era and was part of some pretty bad teams, but if the Bulls decided to bring him back it would be an excellent signing for them. Crawford has just what the Bulls need: an ability to create his own shot and the confidence to take big shots down the stretch. In this year’s playoffs for the Hawks, the ball was frequently in Crawford’s hands in the final minutes, and he proved over and over that he is a clutch player. He is fearless when it comes to the big moment, and the Bulls need that right now as it appears that everyone not named Rose is too afraid to step up down the stretch – something Crawford could immediately fix.
If the Bulls were to sign Crawford, which is very likely given the current ownership situation in Atlanta (the Atlanta Spirit LLC group reportedly just sold the Atlanta Thrashers, and is losing money on the Hawks), they could form a similar situation to what Oklahoma City has at the two guard spot with Thabo Sefolosha and James Harden. Chicago could have Brewer or Bogans start, bring some defensive energy and intensity, before bringing Crawford in off the bench and having him play the majority of the minutes at the position to provide scoring and playmaking.
The Bulls have a ton of talent, and are an incredibly deep team with a bright future, but the reality is that no Bull can consistently create his own shot. Rose is forced to be a scorer because of that, and if he doesn’t put his teammates in a position to score they likely won’t. Everything in that offense feeds off Rose, and that was never more evident than in Game 4. So while the Bulls’ season is not over yet, Gar Forman and John Paxson should make Crawford priority No. 1 this offseason.
What do you think? Should the Bulls sign Crawford this summer? Where do you think Crawford wants to sign?
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