Former NBA player Jamal Crawford had some of the best handles for a shooting guard in recent NBA history. Crawford was unbelievably crafty with the ball, capable of dropping defenders with a series of moves that would enable him to get the shot off or take it to the basket. Having great handles enables players to get themselves open either for a shot or a layup. Alternatively, it can also create an opportunity for other players on a team when the defense collapses, and you make that extra pass to a wide-open teammate.
When talking about the players with the best handles in the NBA, there are quite a few names that come to mind. In an interview on the Club Shay Shay podcast, Jamal Crawford talked about himself as a top-tier ball handler.
I hate talking about myself, but I would say I’m top tier. If there was a top-shelf of drinks, I would be on that top shelf. I’m on the top shelf.Jamal Crawford, via Club Shay Shay
However, when naming the players that, in his opinion, have the best handles, Crawford left his name out and shared quite a few players that he believes were absolutely spectacular and crafty with the ball. Some of them are current, and some former NBA players made their way to Crawford’s list.
I’m going to put Isiah Thomas. I’m going to put Kyrie, I’m going to put White Chocolate, and then I have Allen Iverson, Rod Strickland, Nick Van Exel, Baron Davis, and Stephon Marbury. I had to put all of them. You got a lot of people there.Jamal Crawford, via Club Shay Shay
Crawford also pointed out an interesting perception of how players with great handles and are at the same time reliable shooters are pretty much unstoppable in today’s NBA. Under new rules, where physical contact is reduced to a minimum, players can quickly get themselves open for a shot and drive to the basket if they have a few good handles. If you have that type of skillset in the NBA, you can drop 20 points per game with ease and score the ball in various ways.
The difference is, especially in today’s game if you can dribble the ball and shot, you are unguardable because of physicality. You can’t get too close to someone who can dribble, but you can’t back up and let him shot either. So if you can do both, you are a walking 25 points per game if you have the freedom to do it.Jamal Crawford, via Club Shay Shay
There are several players in the NBA nowadays that are great ballhandlers and shooters simultaneously, which makes them almost unstoppable. Lillard, Curry, Chris Paul, and a few others have that combination of skillset, making them a complete nightmare for any defense. Crawford knows that better than anyone because he made a two-decade-long career being one of the best ball-handles and shooters in the game.