As we all have heard, Jae Crowder made a departure from Boston in the midst of the headlining Irving/Thomas trade this summer. Now he is on a brand new Cleveland Cavaliers squad. Just days ago on Monday, Oct. 9, a Cavalier starting lineup was announced, and it included Crowder at the four spot. Hearing that Crowder will be a starter for his new team brings up the question, “How will he fit in?”. With the season starting in less than a week, this question is rather important.
First off, Crowder has many strong points to his game. As he is about to start his seventh season in the league, Crowder has proved himself as a scorer and a defender. Last season in Boston, he averaged a career-high three point percentage at 39.8%. He also averaged 2.2 threes made per game to record another career-high. Defensively, Crowder has been a consistent presence. For the past three seasons, he has averaged at least one steal a game. Here’s more milestones for Jae from last season; he racked up career-highs in defensive rebounds (5.1) and total rebounds (5.8). Statistically, Crowder looks in tune to be a fine role player for this fresh Cavaliers team.
Next, I think Crowder will be a nice compliment to LeBron James as another forward. They are similar in size and have the ability to guard the same positions. That being said, they will be able to adjust defensively at any time in games. Crowder has proved he can keep up with other small forwards and shooting guards in the league on defense. He still has to demonstrate that he can guard other power forwards, but I have a good feeling LeBron will match-up with opposing power forwards during the regular season.
Finally, as a starter in Boston, Crowder averaged a career-high in minutes per game at 32.4. His minutes per game have increased every season in the league. His ability to stay in the game will give Cleveland a great sense of familiarity on the court as the season goes on. This will also matter late in games when the score is close or if the team is trailing. When Isaiah Thomas returns to action, that sense of familiarity will grow even stronger because the two have played together for two full seasons. It will be interesting to see how the team chemistry develops for the Cavaliers this season. Crowder’s role as a teammate is just as important as everyone else on this new Cavalier team.
Overall, Crowder has challenges to face this upcoming season, but his style of play will benefit the Cavs. He stands as great supporting cast for LeBron as a consistent source of threes and steals. Crowder has started every game he has played in for the past two seasons. In those games he has improved in many categories of the game. He will easily be able to catch onto a high-paced offense with a new backcourt comprised of Derrick Rose and Dwyane Wade. Jae Crowder will easily fit into this new Cavaliers team because he provides consistency on offense and defense.
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