If you have read Riley’s Monday Morning Media Roundup or listened to our podcast, you know Riley and I have been thinking of potential destinations for Jae Crowder. We have said he should be in Germany, Belarus, Azerbaijan, Australia, Malta, and Brazil. Yet despite all of this, he remains in Milwaukee. So congrats Jae Crowder, you withstood all the international opportunities and some other names to somehow place 7th in our ranking.
Jae Crowder had an interesting situation; after deciding not to play with the Phoenix Suns at the beginning of the 2022-23 season due to disputes with playing time, Crowder was training on his own. That would last until the trade deadline when the Milwaukee Bucks were able to work out a trade to bring Crowder in. This looked to be an excellent move by Milwaukee to bring in an established 3 & D player who has postseason experience. Crowder shot at least 35% from three since 2020 and was a thorn in Milwaukee's side in the bubble and the 2021 NBA Finals. In his 18 regular season games in Milwaukee, Crowder averaged 6.9 points per game, shooting 43.6% from three. You would see that and think that was everything Bucks fans were hoping for. But Crowder did pick up an injury that interrupted his rhythm, which was already going to be tough for a player who went around 8 months without playing competitive basketball. Crowder also only shot 3.1 three-point attempts a game, much lower than his career average of 4.5 attempts.
But the reason the Bucks brought in Crowder was for the playoffs, and Crowder was healthy for the first-round matchup against the Miami Heat. Crowder had an abysmal showing something Bucks fans hadn’t seen since Nikola Mirotic in the 2019 Eastern Conference Finals. On defense, he was getting cooked by Jimmy Butler, looking more like a matador than an NBA player. On offense, he was 0-6 from three and scored a total of seven points, all in about 13 minutes of play. Mike Budenholzer saw enough and didn’t play Crowder in Game 4 and he only played 18 seconds in Game 5. It was so bad that after the series ended, Crowder was commenting on how he didn’t understand what his role was in Milwaukee. Part of that is on Budenholzer, who has a history of not being the best communicator, but when you’re playing that bad, it’s hard to gain sympathy.
What makes Crowder an option is that he does offer a skill set that is so wanted by NBA teams. Crowder is a capable shooter, a versatile defender, and plays with an edge/toughness to him. I am surprised he is back but that could be more to do with Adrian Griffin being the head coach than Bud. Now that he has knocked some rust off of him, it is possible we could see a much improved Crowder. For his sake, this does feel like a last chance to be at least a rotational player for a contending team. If all else fails, he will likely tweet out his thoughts in ALL CAPS.
Gut check: How confident are you that Jae Crowder will be in the playoff rotation?
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1 - Not in the rotation at all.
2 - Might play a few rotation minutes here and there.
3 - Will get some minutes, depending on the series.
4 - Will be part of the rotation, playing steady minutes.
5 - Firmly in the rotation, playing heavy minutes!
Now it gets interesting as we get to the players who will ultimately decide how far the Bucks get in the postseason.
The 6th Most Important Player to Milwaukee’s Postseason Success Is...
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