So, there has been a lot of discussion, much of it unfair in my view, about Jordon Crawford. I wanted to take this post to try and put some facts around the discussion. To begin with though, let me say this...it is not my practice to single players out. They are college students who are giving their all and sacrificing a lot to be Falcons. When I do, it is based on facts. You won't see the general slander you see on the Internet...so and so "sucks" or so and so "doesn't deserve a scholarship." I hope that keeps this blog separate from the beasts. You can make up your own mind.
My philosophy is that his Mom might read this.
Note: the stats used here are for MAC games only, last season.
First, Coach Orr mentioned that Crawford was 2nd in the MAC in assists. This is, in fact, true.
Others will mention that Crawford was 2nd in the MAC in turnovers and the leader among PGs. This is also, in fact, true. (Julian Mavunga led the MAC in turnovers.).
The most common thing here is to look at assist/turnover ratio...and as you might have guessed from the above, this is not good for Jordon. In fact, he is tied for 17th in the MAC in this measure.
Even so, I don't think that tells the whole story. Let's continue along the lines of a rational exploration.
One thing is that assists per game and turnovers per game are averages based on bulk numbers. Our friends at statsheet.com have some other metrics which are useful. For example, assist % takes into account the total number of Field goals made (ie, assist opportunities) while factoring in minutes played. Crawford is 9th in the MAC in this measure, for the simple reason that he almost never came off the floor. In fact, he was fifth in minutes played
In all fairness, this downgrades his assist number a little bit. In part, he has more assists because he was on the floor more.
However, if you are going to take this into account for assists, you have to also take it into account for turnovers. You can also make more turnovers because you are almost always on the floor. In turnover %, Crawford was 10th in the MAC.
So far, what we're getting is more moderate, less extreme view of Crawford. Given the amount of time he is on the floor and the number of baskets his team makes (and BG is a FG heavy team), he is neither the assist maven nor the turnover machine that some would suggest.
Slow your roll, people.
Now. There's one flaw in this thinking, and that is, an assist is not equal to a turnover. An assist, by definition, includes a made basket. You cannot get an assist on a great pass where the player missed the layup or open shot or even if he his fouled and converts free throws.
Conversely, while a turnover is a lost possession, there is no guarantee that, had the whole thing played out, a basket would have been made. In fact, the floor percentage (% of possessions ending up in points) in the MAC is just 51%. Now, that includes turnovers...anyway, we're getting into the weeds a little.
Here are the MAC's top assist guys when you just net out their turnovers from their assists.
Crawford comes out of this ranked 8th.
But, if you only count likely scoring turnovers (in other words, using the 51% floor percentage), you get a different picture.
So, if you were to tell me Crawford was the fourth or fifth best PG in the MAC (Cooper has other skills that could elevate him) I think that might well be a reasonable conversation to have. He's not the 2nd best (as his assists might suggest) but he isn't the worst, as his turnovers would suggest.
He was 10th in steals, too, if you want to get some of those possessions back.
You might disagree, but that's my view, with facts.
Frankly, if you want something to worry about, I'd point you to the fact that he might have had a better sophomore season. His minutes went from 27 to 34, but assists only went from 5 to 5.2 and turnovers went from 2.3 to 3.8. Assist% fell from 36 to 30 and turnover % went from 24 to 28. But, all the notwithstanding, I believe he is a good if not great MAC player who is (and we forget this) our best PG since Brandon Pardon. While that is not necessarily the world's highest bar, this program has been starved at the point for a long time, and Crawford is a very solid player.
I've already established I think last year's team should have been better. You might be able to lay some of that at his feet, but not all, or, I would argue, even most of it.