Mavericks' Jae Crowder Lifts Team With Improved Shooting

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Jae Crowder, with the Dallas Mavericks.

    I’ll admit, I didn’t think much of Jae Crowder coming out of college.

    I watched him at Marquette and he was an intense, try-hard guy who seemingly maxed out his potential. But I fear that players like that reach their peak early, and get exposed at the next level with little or no room for improvement. A lot of NBA general managers agreed, and Crowder slid to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the second round (34th overall) before being traded to the Mavericks.

    As a rookie he did a lot of things solid, but none of them sensational.

    But this season? Crowder is already, clearly Dallas’ most improved player and an important role player in its attempt to return to the playoffs.

    He can defend on the perimeter and in the paint. He can rebound, pass, handle and – don’t look now – he can consistently hit 3-pointers. It’s that added element that’s elevated Crowder from a towel-waving effort guy to a substantial rotation player.

    How good has he been? Missed his last six 3-pointers, to drop his percentage to 54 percent. He shot 32 percent beyond the arc as a rookie.

    I’m not suggesting Crowder’s suddenly grown into Reggie Miller from deep. He’s a role player. He’ll regress into the 40s percentage-wise. But if he can add consistent shooting to his elite effort, the Mavs will have themselves a second-round steal.

    I admit, I think a lot of Jae Crowder as he starts his second season in the NBA.

    A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He currently writes a sports/guy stuff blog at DFWSportatorium.com and lives in McKinney with his fiancee, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.