Personally, Jae Crowder is not one of my absolute favorite players on the Celtics team right now. That is not to say I hate him though. He is the type of guy that I like, but I have not grown completely attached to. For instance, I would be devastated if the Celts traded Isaiah Thomas or Terry Rozier. If they traded Jae, I am not sure how much I would miss him. That being said, the Celtics team may miss him far more than anyone would ever assume.
Crowder is one of, if not the, most important player on this current 2016-17 Celtics squad. You might be asking yourself, “What? How? He is just a hustle guy.” Well, yes, that is true. However, that hustle is resulting in an outstanding +/- of 223.
Crowder is averaging a +/- of 5.2 this year. That may not sound like much, but it truly is. The next closest teammates are Marcus Smart (+163) and Isaiah Thomas (+110). Crowder is blowing them out of the water.
I have always been a believer in the fact that the more you play, the more your +/- is at risk. If you are a starter (like Crowder) then you are playing the bulk of minutes within a loss. So, it is pretty impressive that Crowder is able to maintain such a stellar number.
Other sections of the stat sheet…
Crowder is averaging 14.2 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 2.2 assists per game. None of those numbers are overwhelming from a starting SF in the NBA. If anything they are underwhelming…
So how does he keep that 223 +/- if he isn’t putting up outstanding numbers in other statistical categories?
The answer is simple. Crowder does almost everything that a player can do that will benefit a team without showing up in the box score. Crowder excels at challenging opponents’ shots. He is always showing a hand and making every shot, jump shot or lay-up, difficult and uncomfortable for the opposition.
He is also superb at boxing out his man. Now, this means he is not getting the rebound. However, he is making sure the closest opponent is nowhere to be found. He does this by using his physical advantage and blocking out anyone from making a move towards the ball.
I will mention one more, but there are many others. The final thing Crowder excels in is being in the right place at the right time. Everyone has always used that saying to mean something along the lines of being lucky. Let me be clear. I am not using it in that sense. Take those words literally. He is always in the right place at the right time. Not because he is luckily there, but because he knows where to go. He knows where to be. He knows what to do. This comes from having an innate awareness and understanding of the game. He has that instinct that some guys do and some don’t. He sure as hell has it, and his instinct is far better than most.
Overall, Jae is always sticking his nose into things. He just has “it.” You can’t teach “it.”
If Crowder were to be moved, the Celtics would lose far more than just a hustle guy averaging 14, 5, and 2…