The Washington Times - October 4, 2012, 06:39PM

Jordan Crawford is expected to start at shooting guard for the Washington Wizards. It’s a role he enjoys and is completely suited for. With John Wall out for the next eight weeks with a stress injury to his left patella, Crawford will play the point if needed. But no one will be surprised if Crawford shoots first and passes later.

“I mean it’s an opportunity for everybody,” Crawford said. “John is going to be down so everybody else has got to step up. Of course you’re going to be excited. You’re not looking forward to anybody getting hurt, thats not what you wish on anybody, but you step into his role.”

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Crawford is a supremely confident player who made headlines last year by saying he thought he could be as good as Michael Jordan someday, and easily defends his reputation as a gunner.

“When its time to score, I score,” Crawford said. “That’s how it should be. For the past two years we had like 18 players hurt since I been here, if you add it up. If you go into the arena with eight players, who else going to shoot?”

Well, Bradley Beal, for one. The number three pick out of Florida turned 19 the day of the NBA Draft, and has already shown an uncommon maturity. Still, a rookie will have some growing pains, and Crawford has no problem functioning as Beal’s mentor as well as his competitor.

“We’re going to compete on the court, but I’ll teach him the ropes, what I’ve learned since I’ve been here,” Crawford said. “It’s great because I’ve kind of got the natural ability to lead. Grown people kind of gravitate to me, look up to me, so I’m excited to be kind of like a veteran on this team.”

Beal has deftly sidestepped any speculation that he’s going push Crawford out of the starting lineup by midseason, and says he expects to earn his spot on the team and not be handed anything. So far, the two seem to have a pretty good rapport.

“He’s a funny guy, honestly, he’s a character,” Beal said. “On the court, it’s tough to guard him. He’s a challenge everyday. You have to come ready to guard him and be ready, because he’s great defender at that, too, so it’s kind of hard.”

“He’s a terrific person, he doesn’t bring anybody down. He’s taking me under his wing a little bit. He’s a leader as well. I’m looking forward to competing with him and playing with him as well.”

While the point guard spot could be a bit of a patchwork effort until Wall returns, the shootout at shooting guard between Crawford and Beal could be fun to watch. Crawford is ready to take on all comers. Beal carries himself with the maturity of a veteran.

“I’ve been faced with this situation almost all my life,” Beal said. “I’ve always had to grow up faster than what I am. I’m mentally prepared for that, honestly. I’ve always been like that. I’m humble, and guys always say I act older than what I am, so I always keep that mentality and make sure everything is focused and serious. It’s a business so if I have to grow up fast, like everybody wants me to, I’m willing to do that.”