Jae Crowder’s the sort of swing player that can fit almost every team in the NBA. After the Boston period in 17, Crowder has been on the constant move making appearances in Cleveland, Utah, Memphis, Miami, and now Phoenix. All of which have been very successful, except Cleveland. Personally, I can’t believe that the Grizzlies traded him last year as he played so well alongside Ja Morant and what that team was doing. And then Miami just let him go in free agency after helping them to the Finals?
Now based in Phoenix and playing amazingly alongside Devin Booker, Chris Paul, and Deandre Ayton, Crowder is what I would now define as the rich man Draymond Green (i.e., he’s basically Draymond when he was good).
His pure ability to impact the game on both ends of the floor is so evident in almost every game he plays. On the season, averaging 10 points a game on 40% from the field and 38% from behind the arc, he keeps the opposing defense on high alert when the Sun’s first option doesn’t play out. You can’t forget about him, like Draymond. Yes, he might have a few lousy shooting nights here and there, but almost always that aligns when he is tasked with guarding the opposing team’s best player. Averaging almost one steal a game doesn’t do his defense justice for his impact anchoring the defense for the 27 minutes a game he plays. He sets the tone defensively. Chase down balls, box out, help defense (to take the load off Paul and Booker). He is a role player that does all the little things teams appreciate on their way to a championship.
I think Jae Crowder as a swing is in the top 5 for underrated players in the NBA. Whatever Phoenix does this year, conceivably making the finals, it won’t be in any small feat due to Crowder’s presence as an impact swing player. He has found his niche, and that makes every team he’s on better. If only LeBron knew how to use him properly on the Cavs.
See you next time, Lazies!