Jae Crowder says losing to Hawks will drive him to be a different player

Jae Crowder finished sixth in the balloting for the NBA's Most Improved Player Award in 2015-16.  After average 4.6 points per game during his career with the Mavericks, the four-year veteran put up 16.2 points per contest in his first full season with the Celtics. Next year, he plans to get even better:

Crowder shot the ball terribly in the playoffs (20-for-72 from the field, 27.8 percent), having never fully recovered from a high ankle sprain he suffered in March.  In fact, at season's end we learned Crowder had a bone bruise as well:

However, the small forward refused to blame the injury for his postseason struggles.  Via Mike Petraglia of WEEI, here's what Crowder said following the C's elimination:

Yeah, it was a very tough stretch for me. But I’m not here to make any excuses about that, it was just tough, it was a tough series for me, but my teammates never stopped believing in me. I just tried to get through it. … I gave it my best, so I can sleep good knowing that I gave it my all.

But even more importantly, Crowder plans to use the first-round defeat as his inspiration this offseason (also from Petraglia):

It will drive me to work harder, for sure. It will drive me to be a different player than I am today, so we use it as motivation to move on.

Like I just told Isaiah, we’ve just got to keep chipping at it, keep getting better, of course its only going to be one team to have a successful year and that’s when you hold that trophy up. So until we do that, its not a successful season. We are going to keep building, keep working.

Crowder is still just 25 years old (he turns 26 in July), and is under contract for four more seasons at an average of roughly $7 million per.  He's already a bargain--imagine how valuable he can be in the years to come?

Follow Mark Van Deusen on Twitter @LucidSportsFan