There is one player on the Dallas Mavericks that could be the future face of the franchise and it’s not who you would think it would be. No it is not O.J. Mayo nor is it Darren Collison. It’s also not their first round draft pick, Jared Cunningham. It’s the 34th overall draft pick, Jae Crowder.
It may not happen right away and it may not happen this year, but if the Mavericks train him right and put him at a NBA level then he could become the next face of the franchise. All the Dirk Nowitzki fans who are hoping that he will sign for another few years once his contract his up I hate to say this, but it’s not going to happen. Nowitzki just got married and he will most likely want to hang it up and spend time with his wife and start a family.
That is why the Mavericks need to start looking for somebody that will carry on this team once Nowitzki retires and I believe that Crowder will be the man to do it. He has the potential and he has the capability to carry this team.
Crowder is coming from Marquette University where he averaged 17.5 points, 8.4 rebounds and 2.5 steals a game during his last year there. At 22 years old there is plenty of time for him to build up that potential that he is capable of becoming.
This will be the first step in the Mavs building in life after Nowitzki. They have two young players in Mayo and Collison at the one and two guard position which could be another start of building up a “Big Three” that the Mavs used to have almost decade ago. Crowder could be that third piece in the Mavs puzzle if indeed Mayo and Collison are here after Nowitzki. Mayo is on a two year contract while Collison contract ends at the end of this season. For Crowder to become the next franchise player the Mavs will need to keep both guards in order for Crowder to be that “all-star” type of player.
He has already shown that he has the capability of being a productive player. The first two pre-season games in Europe that the Mavs played coach Rick Carlisle only gave him 6.5 minutes (average) and he was only able to score 2 points during the Europe trip. The first game against a NBA team of the pre-season Crowder was given 15 minutes where he scored 20 points against the Houston Rockets. He also added 5 rebounds during the game. The game against the Phoenix Suns he played 26 minutes, but scored 10 points. However he had 5 steals, 3 blocks and 6 rebounds during those 26 minutes. When given the minutes he will be able to perform the way he is able to.
I know that Summer League does not really mean much, but Crowder was impressive during the summer as well. During those five games he led the team in scoring with 16.6 points a game to go along with 2 steals and 5.4 rebounds per game.
Carlisle may not use him much at the beginning of the season, but if players get hurt and they need somebody to fill those roles then expect him to use Crowder. From there once he shows what he is able to do during a regular season game then Carlisle will use him more and more in the normal rotation and he could also be a factor during the post-season as well.
I have very high hopes for Crowder and I believe that the Mavericks have their future all-star. They just need to develop him to that next level that he will need to make it in the NBA. If they do that then the Dallas Mavericks will not have to wait long to keep making noise in the Western Conference once Nowitzki does retire. Until then the Mavericks need to have Crowder learn from the veterans that are on this team for him to be ready in the next chapter of this franchise.