Former Northwestern forward Drew Crawford will play for the New Orleans Pelicans in NBA Summer League in Las Vegas. NU men's basketball made the announcement Tuesday on Twitter.
Crawford, who leaves NU ranked second on the school’s all-time scoring list with 1,920 points, worked out for several teams before the draft last Thursday, including the Utah Jazz and New Orleans Hornets. The 6-foot-5, 215-pound forward was named Most Valuable Player of the Reese’s All-Star game. I assessed his pro prospects earlier this month.
Crawford is a good athlete who can score and rebound effectively. He averaged double-digit points in each of his five seasons, drew fouls at a decent rate (4.7 per 40 minutes) in his final season and played a ton of minutes. Crawford can shoot it from deep – though his three-point percentage peaked in 2011-12, to 41.2, and declined in two subsequent seasons. He rebounds well for his size, posting a 15.8 defensive rebounding percentage – a team-high, which isn’t saying much, but still – last season.
Crawford has the tools to be a good defender but was inconsistent. Last season he yielded nearly a point per possession while guarding spot ups, his most frequent play type, but fared well on (a small simple size of) isolations, giving up 0.71 PPP. Crawford’s age, 23, suggests he’s already nearing his peak, so it’s fair to wonder how much he’ll improve in the coming years. Upside is a term people like to make fun of this time of year, but when evaluating guys like Crawford, it’s something that shouldn’t be brushed aside.
While a longshot to make an NBA roster, Crawford could have a future in the D-League or Europe.