On Tuesday night, the Cavs finally pulled the trigger on a trade that sent Kyrie Irving packing. Although the biggest piece the Cavs obtained was Isaiah Thomas, the Wine and Gold also acquired a valuable piece from Boston.
The casual NBA fan may not know who Jae Crowder is, but he’s definitely one of the best defenders in the league at the small forward position. Jae is currently 26 years old, a young player that can run up and down the court throughout a full 82 games in a season. The Cavs small forwards are currently one of the oldest positions on the team. LeBron is 32 and Richard Jefferson is currently 37-years-old.
Crowder was drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers and traded to the Dallas Mavericks back in 2012 and had a disappointing start to his career as he wasn’t utilized throughout his first two and a half years in Dallas. Crowder’s big break was when he traded to the Boston Celtics for Rajon Rondo back in the 2014-2015 season. Crowder saw his minutes doubled immediately when he arrived in Boston and saw his scoring average soar from three points a game to 14.2 the following season.
Crowder played a huge role for this Celtics team through the two and a half seasons he was there. Boston has been known for their defending in the past seasons. Boston paired Crowder with another defensive-minded player in the starting line-up named Avery Bradley. Crowder averaged 1.7 steals a game for the Celtics in the 2015-2016 season, which should mean a lot considering the sample size that he played in was huge. Crowder started and played in 73 games that season and played an average of 31.5 minutes per game.
Jae has a past with the Cavs and it’s not very pretty. Crowder and Cavaliers shooting guard JR Smith had a scuffle in 2015 during the first round of the playoffs when Smith was attempting to boxout Crowder and “accidentally” jabbed Crowder in the mouth with his fist. The Cavs have one of the best locker rooms in the NBA, so don’t be surprised if the incident is brought to the attention of the team and is quickly dismissed.
Crowder hasn’t been known for his scoring ability, but he is a silent scorer and one of the better shooters on last season’s Celtics squad. Crowder attempted 5.5 three-pointers a game last season, which was the highest average for a season in his career. While Crowder took five shots from beyond the arc a game, he also connected on 2.2 a game, which translated to 39% from beyond the arc, which was by far his best percentage. Crowder also totes a decent 80% from the free throw line.
Crowder is a much defender than Richard Jefferson, most of that is due to age and agility. The Cavs were unable to defend Kevin Durant when LeBron was off the court but adding Jae Crowder should help this situation at least a little bit.
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