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March 2, 2010, 09:19 PM ET
Crawford Gets His Shot at the Postseason

by Kevin Pelton

Last week, Neil Paine had a post on the Basketball-Reference blog looking at the greatest winners and losers among individual players in NBA history. It reminded me of Jamal Crawford. The Hawks’ guard had missed the playoffs every season of his nine-year NBA campaign entering 2009-10. Crawford’s postseason drought is not only the longest active one in the NBA but has climbed to fourth in league history to start a career at 655 games and counting. Crawford trails three-time All-Star Tom Van Arsdale, who never reached the playoffs (929 games), Shareef Abdur-Rahim (744) and Otto Moore (688).

Fortunately, Crawford’s story will have a happy ending. Barring an unprecedented collapse, he’ll reach the playoffs with the Hawks this season. Still, he’s seen a lot of losses. Earlier this season, I looked up the worst career records (minimum five seasons) for players who were active in 2008-09. Note that this is the record of the team with which the player ended the season, so Crawford is credited entirely for the Golden State Warriors last year and not at all for his time with the New York Knicks (in this case, it wouldn’t have changed things much if at all).

Player                TW     TL   Win%

Sebastian Telfair    118    292   .288
Jamal Crawford       230    508   .312
Royal Ivey           136    274   .332
Darius Miles         200    374   .348
Emeka Okafor         144    266   .351
Eddy Curry           232    424   .354
Marko Jaric          203    371   .354
Al Jefferson         148    262   .361
Chris Wilcox         210    364   .366
Josh Smith           153    257   .373

Crawford and Telfair have both seen their luck change this season, but Okafor’s playoff drought continues on and Jefferson has enjoyed little more success. On the other end of the spectrum:

Player                TW     TL   Win%

DJ Mbenga            307    103   .749
Manu Ginobili        407    167   .709
Tony Parker          465    191   .709
Tim Duncan           669    283   .703
Josh Howard          338    154   .687
Bruce Bowen          683    351   .661
Shaquille O’Neal     899    463   .660
Kobe Bryant          678    356   .656
Derek Fisher         676    358   .654
Dirk Nowitzki        567    303   .652

I mentioned Mbenga’s amazing team success in Pro Basketball Prospectus 2009-10; he’s been to three NBA Finals in his career and has a chance at another this season. This list is pretty much entirely Spurs, Mavericks and Lakers. Consider this: O’Neal has been a part of fewer losses in his 18-year NBA career than Crawford has experienced in 10 years.

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