After reading countless polar-opposite posts concerning the talent, future, and skill set of the 2nd year small forward, I decided to write my own post in hopes of separating the facts from the opinions. Let's get started. If you religiously follow the Mavs in a manner similar to my own, you probably are aware that Jae Crowder has been streaky this year, to say the least. At times he has been a great weapon for Rick Carlisle; on other occasions, he has been a 3&D guy without the 3. However, let's take a look at how often Crowder is really connecting from downtown. Click on the link below and prepare to be gladly surprised.
As you can see, Crowder has improved across the board. His overall field goal percentage is up 5%, and from beyond the arc, he is connecting 3% more frequently. Furthermore, his blocks per game have doubled. In a very quiet manner, Crowder is improving; numbers don't lie. In addition to these statistical improvements, Crowder has also lost roughly 15 pounds over the offseason. This has translated into increased speed and agility as well as flexibility on the defensive end of the court by giving him the ability to guard multiple positions. If Jae Crowder is able to continue to improve at this rate, or even half this rate, for the next year or two, he will be shooting approximately 39% from beyond the arc and 50% from the floor. Is this too good to be true? Take a look at the web page of the URL below. If you scroll down, you will find a graph that shows the average NBA learning curve by position.
As a small forward, Crowder will more than likely continue to improve for another four years until he either plateaus or begins decline due to age. The fact that Jae Crowder recently stated that he wishes to stay in Dallas for the entire length of his NBA career is only cause for further excitement. Remember the last player Dallas drafted, developed, and religiously re-signed? I'll give you a hint: his name rhymes with "no whiskey." Now, I'm not saying Crowder will become an all time great, but I am saying that he has more than just an average NBA starter ceiling. At the end of this year, Dallas will look to hook a big fish in the offseason. In addition, both Marion and Carter's contracts are expiring. If only one or both of these players do not re-sign and no SF free agents are singed, Crowder's minutes will see a significant increase. Hopefully, this will only further stimulate his NBA growth. There's a lot to be happy about when one really looks at Jae Crowder. For the first time in a long while, I think the Mavs finally got it right on draft night.