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Jamal Crawford added working on his game to his summer to do list

Oct 19, 2012, 1:37 PM EDT

Jamal Crawford drive

NBA players are in the top one percent of the top one percent of basketball players. You simply won’t find a more talented group of ballers on the planet than the guys who suit up in the association.

Talent alone, though, normally doesn’t get a player to the top of their profession. It takes more than natural ability; it takes hard work.

It sounds like Jamal Crawford, entering into his 13th season and coming off one of his poorer campaigns, decided he should start to put in some of that work.

Here’s what he told Helene Elliott of the L.A. Times:

“This summer was actually the first summer I worked on my game. I usually just play off of raw talent,” he said Thursday after the Clippers’ practice. “But I just wanted to work on something and be in great shape coming into camp. I came here right after Labor Day, which is the earliest I’ve ever gone to any team in the summer, and all the guys were here, committed to getting better.

“Now it’s part of my lifestyle, working out and being here, shooting and getting shots up. It gives you more confidence that if you miss one or two, you know you’ve been working on it every single day and your teammates have confidence because they see it as well.”

He was Sixth Man of the Year on raw talent?

While it’s a bit troubling to hear that a veteran player like Crawford hasn’t worked much on his game over the years, it’s good to hear that he’s starting to now. The Clippers have championship aspirations and Crawford is expected to be a major part of that as an off the bench spark that can create shots when Chris Paul is resting. Crawford is also an underrated passer, posting an assist rate right in line with Dwyane Wade and Joe Johnson this past season.

All those aspects of his game will be needed this season and, in that respect, it’s good to know that he was at the Clippers’ facilities early and building up the camaraderie that is a staple of contending teams.

That said, it’s still hard not think of what Crawford could have been as a player had he actually been putting the work in all these years. What separates the the very good from the great and the great from the all-timers often isn’t talent, but that desire and drive that manifests itself in the extra time put in. At least Crawford is putting it in now.

  1. beardown2489 - Oct 19, 2012 at 2:38 PM

    Unless your name is LeBron James. What separates him is pure and utter talent. Work ethic is solid too but he’s just better

  2. godfather8775 - Oct 19, 2012 at 2:57 PM

    I’m sorry but maybe I missed it… When was Lebron mentioned in this article???

  3. progress2011 - Oct 19, 2012 at 7:27 PM

    Crawford and his INSTANT OFFENSE, coming off the Clips bench is why the Clippers are the BEST TEAM IN L.A.

    Then you throw in:
    Willie Green
    Grant Hill

    The Clips are allowing the Fakers to get all the media press, getting into camp early, working on their chemistry, flying under the radar….

    Are Gonna Have To Be Reckoned With because the are hands-down more talented than their little brothers, in L.A.

  4. bowmanj35 - Oct 21, 2012 at 10:51 PM

    Coming from a blazers fan here, you can take Crawford and his instant turnover, poor shooting and indecision along with shabby work ethic. I knew the season was done when Portland acquired him and Felton. Not another pair of players in the league more over rated. Ecstatic to be done with both.

    • chrisppers - Oct 22, 2012 at 4:56 PM

      Too bad for you guys he hadn’t worked on his game… just watching from preseason, he looks quicker than I’ve seen him in a long, long time, I mean multiple, multiple seasons ago. The guy looks like he’s in great shape and should be a sign of things to come….

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