Jae Crowder stops drinking beer and caffeine, eating bread and greasy food – and you’ll never guess what happens

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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?

Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News:

“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.

LeBron James rejects Giannis Antetokounmpo at the rim

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Through the first couple games of the season, Giannis Antetokounmpo has put up impressive numbers — he dropped 34 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists on the Cavaliers Friday night.

But the Cavaliers still have LeBron James.

He had 24 points and 8 assists, leading Cleveland to the win.

LeBron also reminded the Greek Freak just how good a rim protector he is. Few people can slow Antetokounmpo on the drive, but LeBron is one of them.

Is it too early to root for a Cavs vs. Bucks playoff series?

Hawks’ DeAndre’ Bembry out with fractured wrist

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In their season opener Wednesday, Atlanta second-year man DeAndre’ Bembry came off the bench and played 17:45, scored six points and was +13 on the night. It was a good start to his career.

But now he is going to miss some time with a fractured wrist.

Bembry underwent an MRI, which revealed a fracture in his right wrist, the Hawks announced Friday. He will return to Atlanta with the team (the Hawks lost to the Hornets Friday night) and will meet with team doctors at the Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center on Monday. His status will be updated after that.

“We just may play some other guys more, we may use some of the young guys,” Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer told the AP before Friday night’s game. “We’ll just figure it out tonight and as we move forward. I don’t think there’s anything guaranteed for anybody, it’s unfortunate for DeAndre’ and for us.”

 

Danny Ainge says Celtics will apply for Disabled Player Exception

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It’s not likely Gordon Hayward returns this season. His agent said as much, although a return in March is not out of the question. (It’s better PR wise for the Celtics to say he is out for the season, then if he returns early great, it’s better than setting a deadline he doesn’t meet.)

With that, the Celtics are going to apply for the Disabled Player Exception, which could help them land a replacement player, Danny Ainge told Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe.

President of basketball operations Danny Ainge told the Globe on Friday the club is applying for the Disabled Player Exception, which would provide the Celtics $8.4 million to pursue a player to fill Hayward’s roster spot.

“We’re in the process of doing that,’’ Ainge said. “We have a while to do that. There’s no urgency, but we will apply for that.”

There are limits to what that money can get the Celtics. The money is the same as the mid-level exception, the Celtics can go over the cap to use it, and the player can be obtained via free agency or trade. However, the player must be in the last year of his contract.

It gives the Celtics options. It also does not mean Hayward cannot return, it only means NBA-approved doctors determined he is not likely to return before a mid-June deadline.

Kings hire former WNBA Seattle coach Jenny Boucek as assistant

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The NBA now has a third female assistant coach.

The first was Becky Hammon, who has been part of Gregg Popovich’s Spurs staff for several years (and has coached their Summer League team). The second was Nancy Leiberman, who has been on the staff in Sacramento for a couple of seasons now.

Now the Kings have hired former Seattle Storm coach Jenny Boucek as an assistant coach on Dave Joerger’s staff. She will work as an assistant player development coach.

A former WNBA player in the league’s inaugural season, the past three years she has coached the WNBA’s Seattle Storm (she was fired midway through the last season), and prior to that had been the head coach of the Sacramento Monarchs from 2007-09.