Crowder impresses in loss to Orlando; draws comparisons to Marcus Smart
While suffering a tough loss after a tremendous comeback effort against the Orlando Magic tonight, head coach Brad Stevens was impressed with the competitiveness of new Celtic Jae Crowder.
Despite sitting for the entire first half and finishing with just two points, two rebounds, and one assist, Crowder was able to add some toughness on the floor, disrupt Orlando’s play, and increase the energy during the Celtics fourth quarter resurgence.
While ultimately the C’s lost the game, Crowder showed signs of good things (hopefully) to come.
"Jae just brought a different level of physicality," Stevens told reporters in Orlando. "I mean, he was really, really into it. He's kind of like Marcus Smart but a little bit bigger. He was pressing a little bit offensively but I was really pleased with what he did defensively."
The Marcus Smart comparison is an apt one. Since being drafted by the Celtics over the summer, Stevens has routinely praised the young guard for his ability to elevate the energy in the room; something this Celtics team and fanbase will need during the rebuild. If aspects of Crowder’s game already has Stevens drawing comparisons to Smart, especially when it comes to changing the mood of the game with energy plays down the stretch, than Crowder will fill a very specific need on this squad this season.
A great example of what Crowder is able to add to the Celtics came in the fourth quarter in the form of essentially defending two members of the Magic at once. From MassLive's Jay King:
Crowder started on Tobias Harris, rotated to Victor Oladipo, pressured Oladipo, stayed in front of Oladipo, forced Oladipo (a quick guard) into a pass, and then furiously closed out to impact Nikola Vucevic's shot. In coach speak, they call that "multiple efforts." In layman's terms, they might just say Crowder guarded two dudes at once.
The Celtics are next in action on Friday December 26th at home against the Brooklyn Nets.