Jae Crowder played power forward at Marquette, though at 6-foot-6, it seemed he’d have to switch positions in the pros. Quite often, players of that mold go undrafted.
But Crowder plays with so much energy and displayed a decent 3-point shot, the Mavericks chose Crowder high in the second round last summer.
Crowder had a fine rookie year for a second rounder, spending most of his time at small forward. Sometimes, he shot too often as he adjusted to his new perimeter position, and I wondered whether he’d best serve Dallas as a really undersized power forward.
Still, his defense was valuable as a wing, and it could get even more valuable there now that he’s lost 15 to 20 pounds. How did he do it?
“You kick it up a notch when you work out,” he said. “And you watch your diet. Me personally, I took out bread and I took out grease foods. I drink water. I don’t drink any caffeine drinks. I stay away from all the sweet drinks and drink water as much as possible.”
And, of course, dietary luxuries had to go. Beer is one thing that packs on a lot of worthless calories.
“I cut that out,” he said. “Occasionally, I’ll have one. But yeah, I cut that out.”
I doubt the Mavericks will have Crowder cover shooting guards by design too often, but there will be plenty of times he gets switched onto one if he’s primarily guarding small forwards, and defense is likely Crowder’s ticket into the rotation.
On the wings, Dallas can probably use another reliable defender. Monta Ellis is a sieve. Shawn Marion and Vince Carter defend well, but at their ages, they probably should be rested more than the typical rotation player. Devin Harris, if he spends substantial time at shooting guard, is too small to defend the position effectively for long stretches.
Likely, Crowder is competing with Wayne Ellington for minutes in this role, and 15 to 20 pounds could prove the difference.