Jae Crowder has once again gotten into it with Twitter haters—this time about his minutes next season. The Celtics forward never hesitates to clap back at people disrespecting him.
Crowder’s relationship with some (not all) Celtics fans is one of the few blemishes on what has been, for the most part, a love affair between him and the city of Boston. He’s brought a blue collar attitude to the franchise that doesn’t go unnoticed, but he’s ruffled some feathers along the way.
Last season, Crowder heard fans cheering for Gordon Hayward at TD Garden when the Utah Jazz were going through their introductions. It’s difficult to know how true this is, but this illustrates the tension between Boston and the Marquette product; the slightest slight can irk JC and subsequently, start an unnecessary social media flame war.
Fast forward seven months. When the Celtics signed Hayward this summer, Danny Ainge needed to trade Crowder, Avery Bradley, or Marcus Smart in order to offer Hayward a full max contract. Bradley, the longest tenured Celtic and a fan favorite, was eventually dealt to Detroit for Marcus Morris, but a lot of people were eager to see Crowder go. Despite Ainge coming out and reinforcing that “Jae is a big part of what we’re doing,” a loud minority felt that the oft disgruntled Crowder was redundant after signing Hayward and drafting Jayson Tatum.
In Crowder’s defense, he’s been an important player during the rebuild. He’s a versatile defender, has a pretty shooting stroke, and made 40% of his threes last season. Crowder is a prototypical 3-and-D wing that allows the Celtics to play small ball lineups with Crowder at the 4.
On top of all of that, Crowder is one of the NBA’s biggest bargains. He’ll make $7 million on average until the summer of 2020, where players with Crowder’s skill set at the age of 27 would probably make around $12-18 million on the open market.
For a team that is headed toward luxury tax territory, Crowder’s an invaluable role player and yet, some have questioned #99. Here are some possible reasons: Master of None
Crowder is solid, but he’s not necessarily elite in any specific area. He isn’t the playmaker and scorer that Isaiah Thomas is, he’s not the perimeter defensive specialist that Bradley is, and he isn’t a freak athlete with high upside like Jaylen Brown. Crowder isn’t necessarily a marketable player or a SportsCenter commodity, but he’s been a consistent contributor on a winning team. For lack of a better description, he’s a Brad Stevens’ type of player.
It takes more context to truly understand Crowder’s impact with the Celtics. For example, NBAMath.com examines the value a player adds on both ends of the floor specific to play type. Comparing the 2015-16 season to 2016-17, Crowder dramatically increased the value he added on offense in spot ups and off cuts, two crucial elements to Brad Stevens’ pace-and-space motion offense.
On defense, he improved in almost every area too, including guarding isolation, pick and roll ball handlers and roll cheap jerseys nba men, and in post up situations.
He isn’t elite in any particular area, but over the course of an entire game of around a hundred possessions, he’ll make more good plays than mistakes. As fans, it’s easy to get infatuated with that late game possession where Bradley locks up Kyrie Irving one-on-one or Jaylen throws down a tomahawk in a blowout. Crowder doesn’t give you a lot of those moments, but his body of work can’t be measured in a highlight or 140 characters. Shot Selection
Last season, Crowder had a career year shooting the ball. A near 40% three-point clip is exactly what the Celtics need from him as he spaces the floor for players like Thomas, Horford, and now Hayward, but—and this is arguably nitpicking—there is still something left to be desired.
Despite career high shooting percentages, Crowder’s scoring totals have stagnated over the last two years (14.2 ppg in ‘15-’16 to 13.9 ppg in ‘16-’17). Despite being built like a linebacker, Crowder tends to float around the perimeter. Some of that is by design to create space for his teammates, but Crowder still only averaged 1.3 drives per game last season, which is 8th most on the Celtics. The only players that drove to the basket less than Crowder with consistent playing time were Gerald Green, Jonas Jerebko, and Amir Johnson.
Crowder is a 6’6, 235 pound forward. He’s a physical beast that refuses to go inside. It would be like Gronk if Gronk never went over the middle and punished would-be tacklers. Driving more could really help open up Crowder’s game and the Celtics offense, but Stevens seems to have a specific game plan for using him on the offensive end. Since the Celtics’ offensive rating when Crowder was on the court was a 115.5 as opposed to a 106.2 when off, I wouldn’t worry too much about it.
The 2017 NBA offseason has been one of the most hectic in recent memory, what with Paul George dealt to the Thunder, Chris Paul sent to the Rockets, Gordon Hayward signing with the Celtics and more rumors than you can even count. And with the Carmelo Anthony and Kyrie Irving situations still up in the air, there could even be more fireworks to come.
Still, it’s not too early to start thinking about next summer, which could eclipse this one with all the premiere free agents — most notably, LeBron James — hitting the market. One of those big names that will be up for a new contract is Isaiah Thomas, and the Celtics’ All-Star point guard certainly already has next summer on his mind.
He’s said before that whoever wholesale nba jerseys wants to sign him will have to “back up the Brink’s truck” in order to do so, and Monday, he brought that quote to life with a pair of custom made sandals that featured a Brink’s truck on one foot and a pile of money on the other.
Before the Boston Celtics signed Al Horford last summer the harsh reality was that free agents, for whatever reason, did not come to the Celtics. Horford was arguably the cheap jerseys authentic best free agent signing in the history of the team, and now he is putting in the extra work to make sure that trend breaks.
On top of being one of the most significant free agent acquisitions in franchise history, it was also reported that Horford played a role in recruiting Gordon Hayward. All of a sudden the Celtics have become a prime location for free agents, and they continue to pitch the same thing: winning.
There are a lot of different factors that could have brought Hayward to the Celtics, and at least for the Brad Stevens era, it is impossible to say they are not a top free agent destination, and that should continue as long as they have the money to throw around.
The Celtics have the coach, they have the regular season success and they have all the future assets to offer free agents anything they may want.
The best sign, however, has to be the players. Isaiah Thomas is one of the most well liked players in the NBA, and now Horford is out there selling other free agents, right after he made the same decision. When you look at the players, you see all you need to know about the Celtics as a free agent destination.
The Celtics no longer have the cap space to be big players in free agency, but the bottom line is that the two years they needed to add someone the most, they did it. On top of that, the Celtics got the second best league wide option with Horford last year, and the top league option in Hayward this year.
The Celtics have been considered by any player that they have shown interest in, and that was not the case not too long ago.
It started with Horford, and now he is doing everything to make sure there is no reason for anyone to dismiss the Celtics as a free agent destination.
One of the best parts is that one thing is common to all these free agency pitches, winning. These players are not coming for the bright lights and they are not coming for the market. The Celtics are pitching winning and with what Stevens has already done, everyone looks ready to buy into what the Celtics have built. It is easy to see why players would want to be a part of what is happening in Boston right now.
Who knows if Horford had any real impact on Hayward’s decision, but he is a great example of what can happen if you choose Boston. Stevens unlocked parts of his game that we had not seen fully realized before, and he saw immediate success. If the same happens with Hayward, then they could be ready to end King James’ reign.
Kyrie Irving is not going to end up in Boston, but it is fun to think of what that might look like
First things first, there is absolutely no reason to believe that there is any real chance the Boston Celtics will trade for Kyrie Irving. Danny ainge made his obligatory call because of his unlimited assets, but that should be the end of it.
That being said, inserting Irving into the Celtics lineup would create an offensive juggernaut like no other. Of course, this would require the Celtics to give up no starters in a trade (which is impossible), but lets just play the theoretical game that Ainge once again robbed someone blind in a trade.
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At first glance, it may seem weird having Isaiah Thomas and Irving next to each other. They both want to be primary ball handlers, and they are both scorers above anything else. If you take a bit of cheap jerseys nba a longer look, you can also see that both these players have experience playing on and off the ball, which is essential to Stevens’ offense.
Irving and Thomas would essentially both be playing a hybrid guard position, they would both handle the ball and they would both play off the ball.
Irving said one of the reasons he wants to leave is to become the go to player. That does not necessarily mean he needs to play a Chris Paul like role of stopping the ball and instigating every half court set.
What the Celtics can do for Irving is run their system to accommodate his skill. Stevens did this with Thomas, then he did it with Al Horford and now he is going to do it with Gordon Hayward. He adapts how the team will play in order to bring out the talent he has.
Stevens will have all the sets Irving needs to get the open looks he did not find in Cleveland, and he will have the offensive sets that will allow Irving to handle the ball in more situations other than just isolation scoring.
Of course, the Celtics will also use his isolation scoring. Irving would give the Celtics another option for a player that can manufacture points when the offense slows down, and staggering him with Thomas in those situations will make things easier for everyone.
Stevens could give Irving a lot more control and run the team around him, without needing him to do everything. Irving will be able to showcase what he is capable more, without having to do every bit of work to get there.
Simply put, a back court of Thomas and Irving would be as good of an offensive back court as we have in the NBA right now.
Putting Irving next to Thomas means that all the ball handling will come front the back court, which works perfectly for the wings. The Celtics have wings that can handle the ball, but that is not their strength. The Celtics need their wings to be aggressive on offense, hitting the open shots that are created for them.
Thomas’ driving to the rim alone opened up so much, and is a big reason why Jae Crowder is a 40 percent three point shooter. You put one of the greatest lay up artists in the history of the game next to Thomas, and those wings will have more open looks than they know what to do with.
The front court is then the most exciting thing about this offense with Irving. If you start Horford and Marcus Morris, you have two bigs that will spread the floor and defenses will have to respect. The problem is that you cannot respect shooting bigs when you are trying to stop Thomas or Irving in the paint.
Putting Irving next to Thomas leaves defenses with an impossible dilemma. Either you blitz the paint and leave the three point shooters wide open, which is the fastest way to get blown out. Or, you respect the shooters and trust your rim protection against arguably the two best drivers and finishers in the game. It is impossible to stop.
Irving would have to change his game to make it work, but it sounds like he is ready for a change. Irving would have to fully buy into everything that Stevens is doing. But if he did that, this offense could start closing the gap with the Warriors.
While it is fun to think about what this team could do with Irving, it will not happen. Even if the Celtics pulled off that blockbuster trade, a 25 year old elite point guard with two years left on a good deal is going to command an outrageous haul, and the the only way this offense would really work properly would be if the Celtics could keep this core entirely in tact while adding Irving.