Jae Crowder had a decent rookie campaign with the Dallas Mavericks, especially considering his status as a second-round draft pick. He was the rare rookie who was able to work his way into coach Rick Carlisle‘s rotation, something that is no easy feat.
Crowder is the type of player who does a bit of everything, being able to shoot, dribble, pass, defend and rebound well. He showed flashes of his ability last year, though his statistics were generally less than stellar.
So far this year that hasn’t been the case. Crowder has been one of the top three-point shooters in the entire NBA this year, shooting at a fantastic 54 percent. He would do well to be more aggressive with his shot selection, especially when it comes to getting toward the basket for easy layups and drives, but he’s taken a nice step forward in his sophomore season.
While his shooting has been phenomenal so far this year and it’s actually taken an 0-for-6 slump to drop his three-point percentage to 54 percent, it’s been the rest of his game that has impressed me the most. Last game against the Washington Wizards he never really got his shot going, making only two out of five attempts, so he started making an impact by smartly distributing the ball to his teammates.
The one knock on his play so far has been his abysmal free-throw shooting. After making just 64 percent of his foul shots last year he’s making just a third this year, which is made all the more inexplicable considering his fantastic three-point shooting.
Crowder is nothing more than a role player at this point, but his role is ever increasing as he’s gaining confidence and improving his feel for the game. If he continues developing at this pace the Mavericks may already have an heir for when Shawn Marion retires.