Ben Simmons

Ben Simmons: Sixers & Jamal Crawford “needs to come through”

Jamal Crawford is still an NBA free agent and he wants to be a Philadelphia 76er.

Last night during an NBA 2K party, Crawford got the co-sign of the century from Sixer point guard, Ben Simmons.

“He needs to come through,” Ben Simmons told me.

Philly could use Jamal Crawford. League sources told me earlier this month that the 76ers have grown more interested in Crawford’s services after Sixers rookie, Zhaire Smith suffered a Jones fracture at a developmental camp in Las Vegas.

“I would be honored to play there,” Jamal Crawford told me this month on Scoop B Radio.

“But things obviously have to take its course and I kind of got to sit back, but who wouldn’t want to play there?”

League sources shared with me this month that Sixers guard, Jerry Bayless’ contract would need to be moved in order to bring in Crawford.

A 19-year NBA vet, Crawford opted out of the second year of his two-year contract with the Minnesota Timberwolves, that he signed last summer.

At 38 years old, Crawford not only provides strong veteran leadership for a young Sixers team, he can score. “I think with that skillset, it would fit really good with what they’re doing,” Crawford told me earlier this month. 

“From a leadership standpoint, having that vet who’s been through those wars and challenges, somebody who can get a shot when the play breaks down, especially in the playoffs.  And where Philadelphia is going to get judged, ultimately, is their playoff success. They’re becoming one of those teams.”

Crawford is also a fan of Ben Simmons: “You can tell, watching him play, he doesn’t play with an agenda,” he also said on Scoop B Radio this month.

“You know, a lot of young guys try to establish themselves first. It looks like he’s just trying to win, whatever that is.  He may get you 25 points, he may get you 10 assists, he may even get 18 rebounds. It’s just about winning that particular game.  I love how he plays the game. He’s very cerebral, always looking for his teammates and looking for the advantage down court, so that’s what I love about him.”

Ben Simmons and his shooting have been a constant topic of conversation and criticism in the City of Brotherly Love. Crawford said that both he and JJ Redick’s shooting touch could rub off on him:

“Yeah, I think skill sharpens skill,” he said.

“It really does. Whatever field you’re in.  If you’re around better actors, you’re going to become a better actor.  If you’re around better shooters, you become a better shooter. But, Ben is so great, he’s going to be so great, that his game will ultimately be judged how he can affect teammates and I think that, with everything else, will develop.  He’s a hard worker, and I know that about him for a while, just being a fan of basketball.”

He says also likes Sixers second-year player, Markelle Fultz.  “We played together all summer when he was at the University of Washington,” said Crawford.

“I was so happy for him personally, because so many people were throwing jabs at him, with being injured and the shot and all that, but I have no doubt he’s going to be a star one day.  His talent is god-given, and obviously he’s developed that talent, but he loves the game of basketball. He wants to be better, he wants to be great, and he’s putting the work in, so I’m just happy for his success.  And not just this year, but going long-term, he’s a brother of mine and I’d be there for him every step of the way.”

According to The Ringer, Jamal Crawford is ranked third in the top six remaining free agents in the NBA and should still be good to average double-digit points — he hasn’t averaged fewer than 10 since his sophomore season, in 2001– 02.

Drafted out of Michigan in the 2000 NBA Draft, Crawford is revered for his smooth ball-handling ability and crafty scoring. That combo has won him three NBA Sixth Man of The Year awards.

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