"My rule was I wouldn't recruit a kid if he had grass in front of his house.
That's not my world. My world was a cracked sidewalk." —Al McGuire

Saturday, July 21, 2012

In just 6 minutes: Cuban calls Crowder dream player while Crowder hits 2 treys, makes 3 steals and ends break with alley-oop dunk (announcers say newly-signed Crowder will make rotation)

NBA TV started out the 2nd quarter talking to Mark Cuban, and ended it by interviewing Jae Crowder as the teams left for the half.

After focusing the halftime highlight’s exclusively on Crowder’s passing, defense, shots and dunk (see "Crowder gets up" here), Kevin Calabro summed up a quarter of comments by saying, “I see now what (Steve Smith) sees in Jae Crowder. You heard it from Steve Smith, Crowder is going to be in Mark Cuban’s rotation this year… I agree with you, Steve ...”

We use a lot of advanced statistics and analytics, and if you follow wages of wins and all those things, Jae Crowder (is a) dream college player whose skills are supposed to translate very well to the NBA.”

Cuban took the microphone to start the second quarter, hours after signing Crowder to his first NBA contract, and told Smith and Calabro it was the first time he broke away from filming Shark Tank to catch Summer league action live. He talked to Smith and Calabro for the first 6 minutes of the 2nd quarter. As he began to talk, Crowder (who continues to climb the list of top players from summer league show here) stole the ball in the lane, starting a break on the court and this exchange on NBA TV:

“Jae, whose got the ball, knows how to play, and that is a big step,” Cuban said, before being cut off by Smith.

“I love Jae Crowder. He is a physical guy who knows how to play, you can play him at different positions, he defends,” said Smith, before Cuban jumped back in with,

“He will defend everywhere, he has a jumper he just has to work on a little. He knows how to play, he knows how to position to space the floor. He likes to play defense, he likes to rebound. He is going to be in the league a long time,” Cuban said, adding later that the Mavericks picked Bernard James 33rd ahead of Crowder because he had served in the military.

During the six minutes Cuban was talking, Crowder had two more steals, drained two deep 3-pointers from several feet to both sides of the key, and started a give-and-go on a fast break that he finished by slamming home an alley-oop from Dominque Jones. After watching Crowder outmuscle bigger players for position, Cuban added,

“Between Dominique jones, Jae Crowder and Sarge (Bernard James), we are going to knock some people on their butts. We use a lot of advanced statistics and analytics, and if you follow wages of wins and all those things, Jae Crowder and actually Drew Nicholson are dream college players whose skills are supposed to translate very well to the NBA.”

After watching Crowder draw a foul at the perimeter off a crossover dribble to split two guards and draw a charge on guard Jerome Dyson at the other end, Smith said he believed Crowder could play point forward in the NBA as well as post front line players up. Crowder demanded the ball against one big man and hit a turnaround with contact and on another occasion went into the lane for a soft jump hook, then finished the game by twisting on the break to catch a pass over the wrong shoulder and get it in to finish 4 of 6 two-pointers (Crowder was one of only about a dozen players to shoot over 60% on two-pointers during the final month of the college season).

Even after he missed back-to-back treys at one point, Smith commented on how smooth Crowder’s three-point release was looking, and he later hit another one to finish three for nine from behind the arc. “We saw the total package in Jae Crowder,” Smith said. “He may get some valuable minutes this year.”

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