CLEVELAND, OH - MARCH 20: Jae Crowder #32 of the Marquette Golden Eagles celebrates late in the game against the Syracuse Orange during the third of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at Quicken Loans Arena on March 20, 2011 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
This is slightly late, forgive me as I am recovering from my Batman-induced hangover. But Dominique Jones and rookie Jae Crowder have been properly recognized for their efforts the last few weeks in Las Vegas for the Mavericks Summer league team.
All-Summer League Team:
Josh Selby - Memphis Grizzlies
Damian Lillard - Portland Trail Blazers
Malcolm Thomas - Chicago Bulls
Bradley Beal - Washington Wizards
Tobias Harris - Milwaukee Bucks
John Henson - Milwaukee Bucks
Jeremy Lamb - Houston Rockets
Dominique Jones - Dallas Mavericks
Cory Joseph - San Antonio Spurs
Jimmy Butler - Chicago Bulls
Kemba Walker - Charlotte Bobcats
Donatas Motiejunas - Houston Rockets
Jae Crowder - Dallas Mavericks
Jones displayed a nice overall game, averaging 16.4 points, 5 assists and 4.8 rebounds per game. His shooting numbers weren't too stellar, just 45.5 percent overall and 27.3 percent from deep, but Jones did improve upon his finishing at the rim, which has plagued him at times. He also showed an ability to work as a go-to option when a possession was meandering, a regularity in Summer League ball and an important aspect for a bench player to have.
The bench unit has to rely on these isolation hero possessions probably more than the starters due to a lack of play-making and just being less talented players than the starters. It's why J.J. Barea and Jason Terry were godsends for the Dallas bench in 2011 -- when plays break down so frequently with the bench unit, you need someone to create out of nothing. Barea and Terry thrived there. Jones has shown he has the ability to do so as well.
Jones displayed all the skills we've known -- getting to the rim, being an effective ball handler and an OK distributor of the basketball. This Summer League games had more to lose for Jones than gain, as after two rather meager seasons, he really needed to just not be absolutely awful to remain competitive in the rotation. He showed more willingness to take jumpers, but from what I've heard of our own MMB staff and other scouts, the jumper still isn't as reliable as it should be. Jones didn't "wow" at the Summer League but he didn't disappoint either, which is probably more important.
Crowder was a different story: he destroyed expectations. The rookie forward from Marquette showed off what most universally knew about him: his tremendous energy and motor. From all accounts, Crowder was active everywhere on the court -- helping on defense, moving without the ball and individual defense. What wasn't expected was for that energy and motor to translate pretty effectively on the box score. Crowder averaged 16.6 points, 5.4 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 2 steals and almost 1 block per game.
His shooting from the field struggled, but he was surprisingly effective from deep, hitting 37 percent of his threes. The biggest knock on Crowder was always going to be his offense and how his limitations in that regard would make him too much of a liability for minutes. But if Crowder can shoot a respectable percentage from three (especially the corners) Dallas might have a steal on its hands: a more raw version of Shawn Marion but with an upside of a more balanced floor game. The Mavericks desperately need wing help, with Marion and Carter the only serviceable wing forwards. Crowder has shown that he at least deserves a spot to back up Marion and see some major minutes at the three.