Earlier this week, the Grand Rapids Drive made a trade that could have a huge impact on the 2016-17 season.
The Detroit Pistons-affiliated Drive acquired the returning player rights to Jordan Crawford, a 6-foot-4 guard who is known for his high-scoring prowess, from the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, the NBA D-League affiliate of the Indiana Pacers, for their own 2016 1st Round draft pick (6th overall) in the upcoming NBADL draft that takes place on Sunday.
Crawford, 27, attended both University of Indiana (2007-2008) and Xavier (2009-2010). He’s well known throughout the midwest, not so much for his Big Ten play as for the dunk on LeBron James as a sophomore at Xavier. Crawford averaged 20.5 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 2.9 assists per game in 35 games played (34 starts) at Xavier.
Crawford entered the 2010 NBA Draft after only two collegiate seasons, was picked 27th overall by the New Jersey Nets and traded to the Atlanta Hawks. Besides the Hawks (2010-2011), he played with the Washington Wizards (2011-2013), Boston Celtics (2013-2014) and Golden State Warriors (2014) in the NBA. Crawford’s NBA career high is 41 points with the Warriors on April 6, 2014 in Denver vs. the Nuggets.
Crawford spent 2015 in the D-League with the Mad Ants, averaging 24.4 points, 5.7 rebounds, 4.9 assists and 2.2 steals per game in 14 games.
Crawford fills the tw0-guard spot that the Drive haven’t seen very much production from in the past, although Adonis Thomas and L.D. Williams held their own while in a Drive uniform, when considering former Drive players Ryan Boatright and Lorenzo Brown as point guards.
While the first-round pick the Drive gave up seems too highly priced, GR hasn’t seen a very good return on investment in the past making the pick themselves. In 2014, the Drive’s inaugural season, Grand Rapids took Robert Covington with the first pick overall and Ben Hansbrough with the 5th pick. Covington signed with the Philadelphia 76ers prior to playing in a game in 2014 and did not play with the Drive. Hansbrough would ask for his release less than two months after the draft to sign overseas with Laboral Kutxa Baskonia in Spain.
Last season, Grand Rapids selected Sam Thompson from Ohio State with the 7th overall pick. In January, Thompson was traded to the Delaware 87ers for Gary Talton. Thompson, who averaged 5.0 points on 36.9 FG%, recently signed to play in Hungary with Vasas Akademia of the Nemzeti Bajnokság I/A.
The 2016 NBADL draft is October 30 at 2 p.m. ET. You can follow every pick updated in real time on nba.com/dleague.