Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Crawford Says Knicks Would’ve Made Playoffs in ’09; ‘Tough’ for LeBron or Wade to Come to NY
***Al Horford had 25 and 9 and Josh Smith 22 and 12 as the Hawks gave the Knicks their 5th straight loss. Read about it here.**
NEW YORK — Jamal Crawford says the Knicks would have made the playoffs last season had he not been traded to clear salary cap space.
“Yes, we would’ve made the playoffs last year. I think 37, 38 wins is the playoffs last year. We would’ve got there,” Crawford said Wednesday before his Atlanta Hawks met the Knicks at MSG.
The Knicks finished 32-50 last season and haven’t made the playoffs since the 2003-04 season.
Crawford was traded Nov. 18 to Golden State for Al Harrington and subsequently dealt to Atlanta in a draft-day deal.
“It was the best start in the last 10 years for the Knicks,” he said of last year’s 6-3 start. “My only regret was that I was here through the roughest times. I just wanted to be here when things turned around. And that was the thing that bothered me the most.”
Crawford is in touch with LeBron James and said it will be “tough” for a guy like James or Dwyane Wade to choose the Knicks next summer via free agency if the Knicks continue to struggle.
“Honestly, I wouldn’t say they [the Knicks] have to make the playoffs. They just have to compete. Both those guys are on really good teams right now so who knows what the future holds?” Crawford said. “It would be tough for them to leave that.”
What if the Knicks go out and win just 20 or so games?
“Do I think that helps them? No, that won’t help them at all,” he said.
Crawford is thriving in Atlanta, averaging 18.1 points in 29.9 minutes off the bench. And he says he’s having the most fun he’s ever had.
“I think this is the most excited I’ve been since high school when we won the championship back then,” he said of Atlanta’s 5-2 start. “This is a ball. There’s no hidden agendas. Everybody’s pulling for everybody. Everybody knows their role and we’re just going out there having fun.”
Hidden agendas? You think he’s referring to the Knicks?
“There’ a lot going [with the Knicks],” he said. “You can see that just riding by, there’s a lot going on for sure.”
Crawford said the Knicks could improve from their 1-7 start, but “until Nate [Robinson] and Eddy [Curry] and all those guys get back together, it’s going to be pretty tough, honestly.”
Curry returned to practice Tuesday and could return to game action next week, head coach Mike D’Antoni said.
“We’ll make a decision for Wednesday [at Indiana] and see how it goes,” D’Antoni said of Curry. “When he’s in shape and ready to go, we’ll put him in there.”
Robinson is “day-to-day” with an ankle injury and could come back Friday vs. Golden State.
“He’s cutting a little but but can’t cut right or left,” D’Antoni said.
No current NBA player has gone longer without appearing in the postseason than Crawford, who’s averaged 15.2 points in 604 games over his 10-year career.
But he hopes to end that streak this year.
“The thing that bothers me most about that is that I’ve never actually played in the playoffs,” Crawford said. “I’ve never gotten a chance to be on that stage.
“Hopefully, God willing and everybody stays healthy we’ll get a chance this year.”
Follow Adam Zagoria on Twitter
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.