Jae Crowder's triumphant return to Dallas

Tonight, Jae Crowder returns to Dallas for the first time since being traded from the Mavericks to the Celtics.  And oh, by the way, he's awesome now.

Looking back, here's the deal that went down on December 19, 2014:

Mavericks get:
Rajon Rondo
Dwight Powell

Celtics get:
Brandan Wright
Jameer Nelson
Jae Crowder
Two conditional draft picks

At the time, ESPN's original report of the trade had the following to say about Crowder:

Crowder has averaged 3.6 points per game for Dallas.

That's it.

The Mavericks' second-round draft choice from 2012 was an afterthought included in the deal to make the money work.  It could have been Ricky Ledo or Richard Jefferson instead.  Wright was the player expected to have the biggest impact in Boston, with the future first-round draft pick being the prize of the deal for the C's.

Instead, slightly more than a year later, we're getting tweets like this:

As Chris Forsberg of ESPN Boston pointed out, Crowder is 23rd overall in the NBA in real plus/minus.  He's also sixth among small forwards, behind LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, Paul George and Carmelo Anthony--pretty good company.

Over his last 15 games, Crowder has put up All-Star-caliber numbers.  Here are his averages going back to December 18:

18.4 points, 6.5 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1.6 steals and a .495 field-goal percentage in 34.3 minutes per game.

Those stats are eerily similar to the season averages of some guy on the Mavs named Dirk Nowitzki.

Nice work Jae, enjoy your Dallas homecoming tonight.

Follow Mark Vandeusen on Twitter @LucidSportsFan