As I was writing these bullets, news broke that Russia has handed WNBA superstar Brittney Griner a nine-year prison sentence. The decision comes a little under six months after she was originally arrested.
President Biden has already released a statement on the sentencing, stating that the US will continue to look for ways to bring the wrongfully detained Griner home. All I can say is that I hope he’s right.
While I know the sentencing sounds scary – and, in many ways, it is – ESPN’s TJ Quinn does a good job breaking down why this might be an important step toward Griner’s release. He called the nine-year sentence a possible “formality,” which could allow for negotiations between the two countries on a prisoner swap to speed up.
I recommend you watch the video below:
Again, no matter what the case may be, I hope Griner is freed ASAP. What a scary situation.
- Your brain has likely repressed most memories of the early 2000s Bulls. The era of Tim Floyd, Eddy Curry, and 38-year-old Charles Oakley was about as forgettable as a few years can get, especially after the previous decade was filled with the greatest dynasty in the history of basketball. Unfortunately, this comedy of errors also forces us to forget some of the good – a lot of which came thanks to one of the craftiest players to ever touch the hardwood.
- Jamal Crawford’s career started in Chicago. The six-foot-five guard out of Michigan was drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers before a draft-night swap landed him with their Central Division foe. The first two seasons of his career were as forgettable as the Bulls’ on-court play. After a rookie season where he averaged just 4.6 points in 17.2 minutes per game, he appeared in just 23 games during his sophomore campaign due to injury. But something then flipped. The Crawford that would go on to become the Sixth Man GOAT started to show signs of life.
- When given the chance to start in the final 20 games of the 2002-03 season, Crawford averaged 18.7 points with 6.9 assists and 1.2 steals per game. He shot 45.8 percent from the field and 40.6 percent from downtown on a crazy-for-the-time 5.1 3PAs per game. He carried that momentum into the 2003-04 season and had a career year that featured 19 games with 25 or more points, including a 42-point performance against Washington and a 50-point performance against Toronto. Could he be the foundation of a playoff-caliber team in that era? No. Could he at least be a key piece to the puzzle? Sure, but it wasn’t until later that decade that he would get the chance.
- The Bulls traded Crawford following his fourth season with the team to the rebuilding Knicks. He spent four seasons there before playing 54 games for the rebuilding Warriors. It wasn’t until the 2009-10 season that Crawford would play on his first winning team in Atlanta, where he proved to be so much more than a good-stats, bad-team highlight-reel stuffer. Three Sixth Man of the Year awards followed, as did a career that stretched onto the brink of his 40s. Crawford was the epitome of an off-the-bench sparkplug, and another former Bull thinks it’s worthy of a Hall of Fame honor:
- Look, I don’t personally think Crawford has reached that status, but I also probably have much higher standards than the actual Hall of Fame. Jalen Rose also does make a legitimately decent argument later on ESPN, mentioning that the three-time Sixth Man of the Year has scored more points than any player who has never been an All-Star, has the most 4-point plays in NBA history, and is one of four players to score at least 50 for four different teams. I mean, yeah, that’s all pretty freakin’ impressive, especially when we also consider the longevity of his career and the fact that he has some of the best handles the league has ever seen. Again, I’m probably not putting him in the HOF, but all of this is a good reminder of just how special of a talent Crawford turned out to be.
- Also, while he may have only spent those first four years in Chicago, he is still one of only six players to score 50 points in franchise history (DeRozan, LaVine, Butler, Jordan, Chet Walker). Crawford has also drained the sixth-most 3-pointers in a single Bulls season (individual seasons from LaVine and Ben Gordon hold the other spots). Anyway, Crawford is likely not given the tip of the hat he deserves, so shoutout to Rose for reminding me to dig back into his awesome career.
- ICYMI: We got some awesome footage from the Bulls’ five-on-five scrimmage in California, and Patrick Williams is looking feisty.
- Matisse Tybulle’s reaction in the photo sums up what DeRozan did to opponents this year.
- I know I’ve already shared this a million times, but these are my bullets I can do what I want! This is still one of my favorite dunks of the season:
- The LeBron James situation is going to be such an interesting one to follow. The fact of the matter is that he’s still impactful enough to grab himself another ring, but the goal of playing with his son seems to sit above all else.
- I like to hear that!