Here is more proof (in case you needed it) that Jae Crowder is a top defender

This is certainly not breaking news. We already know that Celtics forward Jae Crowder terrorizes opponents on the defensive end. Now, we just have more proof.

The defensive side of basketball is not easily quantified, especially when it comes to a player’s motor and hustle on the court. However, some statistics to take note of include how often a defender closes out to contest shooters, take charges, or recovers loose balls.

For Crowder, it is the deflection stat that speaks to his relentless hustle and sharp instincts. According to, he averaged 3.3 deflections per game in 2015-16, fifth most in the league. Tom Westerholm of underlines how Crowder’s impressive deflection rate creates havoc for opposing offenses:

Crowder averaged 1.7 steals per game in 2015-16, but his 3.3 deflections per game paint a picture of a quick-handed, hyper-intelligent and aggressive defender. Passing or dribbling around him is a nightmarish proposition, full of landmines.

Crowder's quick hands are the key to his defensive success. He's not an elite athlete by NBA standards (although he's perfectly capable), but he's very strong, and he makes life difficult for opposing ball-handlers.

Avery Bradley was also in the top ten in disrupting defenses last season with three deflections per contest and, as a squad, Boston finished 8th in the league with a total average of 11.3.

Again, we already knew that these players can play some stingy defense just from the eye test. But what nightly box scores don’t measure-- advanced hustle stats-- only strengthen Crowder’s case as a great defender.

Follow Erik on Twitter: @erikjohnson32

Photo credit: Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images