Jamal Crawford has arrived

Clips' super sub having a career year and he credits his teammates

Updated: January 4, 2013, 3:33 PM ET
By Chris Palmer | ESPN The Magazine
Jamal CrawfordAndrew D. Bernstein/Getty ImagesJamal Crawford has been around awhile, but with the Clippers it's as if he has just arrived.

Is it possible for a player to have been in the NBA for 13 years and still seem as if he just came out of nowhere?

Meet Jamal Crawford.

Well, nowhere might be a bit of a stretch. He has actually put together a remarkably unique career: He's one of four players who has scored 50 points with three different teams, is the NBA's career leader in four-point plays, won the Sixth Man Award and is the 2000 draft's career leading scorer.

But his lack of postseason hoops -- just 23 career playoff games -- has had a way of removing Crawford from our line of sight. This season, however, Crawford is making the league take notice by doing things he has never done before in the NBA.

Crawford's 16.3 points per game is ninth best of his 13-year career but he has never fit better with a collection of players than he does with the Los Angeles Clippers, who are allowing him to play some of the most efficient basketball of his career.

"This is the best team I've ever been on and it's made me a better player," says Crawford. "I'm right in the middle of a deep, talented group of guys who know what they're doing."

Crawford has unexpectedly become one of the best offseason pickups. And for a number of reasons, big and small, he has been a revelation. I enlisted the help of the Clippers' super sub to break down why he's having one of the best seasons of his career.

The Chris Paul Effect

Upon hearing the news that Chris Paul had been traded to the Clippers, Blake Griffin jubilantly and quite famously declared, "It's going to be Lob City." And boy, it has been. The Clippers lead the NBA in alley-oop dunks for the second year in a row and have become must-see hoops TV. But highlights aside, some players who play below the rim have actually benefited much more from Paul than their airborne brethren.

Crawford is one of them.

Chris Palmer

ESPN the Magazine