Philadelphia 76ers: Adding Jamal Crawford Makes T.J. McConnell Expendable?

The Philadelphia 76ers are gaining interest from one of the top free agents still available. According to Bleacher Report, Jamal Crawford would love to sign with the Sixers for the 2018 season. While the addition of Crawford would be welcomed by a team looking for more players who can create their own shot, a warning comes along with this signing. What happens to T.J. McConnell?

Over the course of his career, McConnell has been one of the steady players for the Sixers. In his three seasons, McConnell has only averaged 6.4 points and 5.1 assists per game but has done so while averaging just 22.9 minutes per. The reason T.J. McConnell is so loved is that he thinks pass first, then shot. His hustle is another reason Sixers’ fans have a deep love for the scrappy player from Pennsylvania.

But the addition of Jamal Crawford will easily push McConnell out the rotation or off the team altogether. While the Philadelphia 76ers still have faith that Markelle Fultz will regain his University of Washington form, Crawford will take over as the backup for Ben Simmons. That’s the spot reserved for T.J. McConnell.

When comparing the two, Crawford is obviously the better player.

For his career, Crawford has averaged 15 points and 3.4 assists but it’s his shooting that has teams interested. Off the bench, he’s one of the NBA’s best at what he does. This is one area where the Sixers are at their weakest. With J.J. Redick back in the fold as the starter at SG, Fultz will likely be his backup in 2018. That alone will give the Sixers’ second unit a much-needed boost but pairing Fultz with Crawford, even at 37, is still considered an upgrade over McConnell.

Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Is Signing Jamal Crawford Worth It?

Are the Sixers willing to give up on McConnell (26 years old) for a player on the downside of his career? Jamal Crawford had a down season while with the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2017 where he averaged 10.3 points while shooting 41 percent from the floor. On the flip side, T.J. shot .499 percent from the field. What Brett Brown may be considering is the three-point threat that Crawford brings to the table. For his career, he’s a 35 percent shooter and the perimeter play is a major part of the Sixers’ offense.

While Jamal Crawford may be willing to give the Philadelphia 76ers a chance, it would be wise if the team stuck with their core of players they have. Chemistry is a hard thing to come by in the NBA and the Sixers are one of the few teams who has managed to build their winning from the ground up. Why mess with that now? No need to sign a big name just to say they signed a big name.

 

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