ATLANTA – There are rumblings here that despite missing out on point guards repeatedly during their lottery reign, the Atlanta Hawks are leaning toward using their #3 pick on one of the freakish 6’10” guys [see Horford, Al and Wright, Brandan], then swooping in at #11 and snatching up Acie Law. This is how Draft Express sees the first round playing out and, consequently, has the Clippers going with Georgia Tech freshman point guard Javaris Crittenton.
Seems about right. And that’s why Clipperblog is concerned. It’s almost rote now for observers to grouse that a guy could use another year at the collegiate level, so I’ll try to be more specific about why I feel strongly that Javaris Crittenton is a disaster. As a disclaimer, I’m not an embittered Tech fan still aghast at his hellacious performance in the NCAA tournament against Vegas. I saw Crittenton play live four times last season with Georgia Tech – against Purdue, Memphis, UCLA, and Clemson -- as well as several times on television. My impression?
There’s an instinct to assume that if a PG can’t orchestrate an offense, it’s because he’s a 2-Guard playing point [Ben Gordon]. To be a shooting guard, you have to be able to shoot – but that’s another story. Make no mistake, Crittenton is a point guard, but is utterly incapable of feeding his scorers. Anyone who followed Tech this season chewed their limbs while watching Crittenton, time and time again, miss Thad Young on a cut, or blow off an easy entry pass into the post in favor of an ill-advised drive, or pound a hole in Cremins Court the size of Stone Mountain dribbling away a possession looking for…what exactly? Something better than Young on the wing against a guy inordinately slower and smaller than him? Crittenton’s decision-making instincts are appalling, demonstrated painfully by the Vegas game and his 5.9/APG vs. 3.1/TPG number. Crittenton partisans will tell you that, at 6’ 5”, his size is ideal for an NBA point guard. The problem is that his shot isn’t good enough to make a shorter defender pay, and he’d rather dribble into the trees than post up a defender. He racks up a lot of steals, but is a shameless gambler who doesn’t always choose his spots judiciously, and doesn’t know when to give up on a smaller, quicker guard and let the back of the zone take care of it. If the Clips want a big PG, I’d rather them take a chance on the kid from Eastern Washington, Rodney Stuckey – though I’ve never seen him play.
I feel like clarifying: I'm not saying that Crittenton is without positive attributes. He can be explosive and creative. But if the criterion is whether the guy can play an NBA brand of point guard, that's my general take.