Joe Crawford was one of the last guys cut from the roster at the end of training camp. Though it wasn’t much of a surprise considering how deep and talented the 14-player roster the Lakers decided to keep was, it was still tough to swallow for the former Kentucky star, whom the Lakers had taken in the second round of the draft.
In another year, or maybe even with a less talented team, Crawford probably would’ve earned a spot.
If he keeps lighting up the D-League like he has in the first few games of this season, Crawford just might get that second shot.
“When I got cut I was really sad. I’d gotten my hopes up,” Crawford said after scoring a game-high 37 points in the D-Fenders game against Reno on Sunday night. “But it was a minor setback. I went home for a couple of weeks and I realized it was an opportunity for me to develop.
“I haven’t played this way since high school so it’s a huge opportunity for me to get better and better every day.”
The Lakers didn’t have room for him on their opening night roster, but they liked him enough to allocate him to their D-League affiliate.
When the Lakers cut him, they told him he needed to be more aggressive. In the D-League, he’s certainly got that opportunity.
Crawford weighed a few offers more lucrative offers from Europe –the D-League only pays $12,000 for a season — but decided to stay home and try and develop his game in front of NBA scouts this season.
Crawford is officially a free agent, meaning any team in the NBA could pick him up.
“Going overseas to play and see the world would’ve been great,” he said. “It also would’ve been a good opportunity for me to make some money not only for me but for my family. But I’m still young. I can stay here for a year and develop. Europe will always be there.”
Still, you have to wonder if Crawford would’ve been better off being drafted by a lesser team than the Lakers.
“No. I don’t look back,” Crawford said. “I’m happy I went to the Lakers and I thank them for giving me a chance. They saw something in me and they gave me the opportunity to find out that I can play with NBA players and I’m happy for that.