NBA exec: Acquisition of Crowder 'one of Ainge's best deals'

NBA exec: Acquisition of Crowder 'one of Ainge's best deals'

WASHINGTON -- When it comes to tough-minded basketball, Jae Crowder has stood out for all the right reasons.

A throw-in as part of the Rajon Rondo trade to Dallas in 2014, Crowder has developed into one of the most versatile defenders in the NBA.

“That was one of the best deals Danny Ainge has made,” a league executive told CSNNE.com. “It was one of those sneaky-good deals that, obviously, has worked out really well for those guys.”

We have seen Crowder tasked with guarding wing players, shooting guards and power forwards despite being just 6-foot-6.

Crowder relies on a strong upper body, good lateral quickness and, like Avery Bradley, tremendous defensive instincts that will get him some serious consideration for a spot on one of the NBA’s All-Defensive teams this season.

What really stands out with Crowder defensively, though, is how he has fared against the game’s best players.

While we all agree Cleveland’s LeBron James is as unstoppable a force as there is in the NBA, Crowder defends him about as well as any player in the league.

James’ offensive rating this season against Boston when Crowder is on the bench is 135.2. When Crowder is in the game -- and most possessions, Crowder is the primary defender on James -- his offensive rating (115.1) drops more than 20 points.

But as we’ve seen with Crowder, he’s more than just a good defender.

His growth can be seen most in his improved shooting.

It was a career season in several categories for Crowder, including a career-high 39.8 percent shooting from 3-point range.

He has also increased his rebounding to 5.8 per game (it was the third year in a row his rebounding numbers increased), which has really been important in this series against the Wizards.

As much as Crowder craves winning, he’s just as motivated to get the respect he feels he’s due.

When the Celtics hosted the Utah Jazz earlier this season, Crowder was noticeably upset at fans cheering for Jazz wing Gordon Hayward, who will be a free agent this summer if he opts out of his contract, as expected.

“I heard the cheering before the game,” Crowder said. “I didn’t like that at all. I think that was a sign of disrespect to me from the fans. That sparked a little fire in me.”

Crowder had 21 points in Boston’s 115-104 win over the Jazz, which included six 3-pointers.

NBCSB Breakfast pod: How Jayson Tatum compares to Paul Pierce

NBC Sports Illustration

NBCSB Breakfast pod: How Jayson Tatum compares to Paul Pierce

1:25 - With half of the Celtics roster on the shelf, we’ve been able to see just how great a scorer Jayson Tatum can be. A. Sherrod Blakely, Mike Girardi and Trenni Kusnierek discuss how Tatum compares to Celtics legend, Paul Pierce.

5:35 - The NFL Competition Committee is giving it their best shot at modifying the ‘catch rule’ and Tom Curran, Kyle Draper and Hardy try to wrap their heads around the proposed changes.

11:02 - The Bruins clinched a playoff berth despite losing to the St. Louis Blues in overtime. Joe Haggerty joins Tom Giles to break down the game, which included another goal by Ryan Donato and a questionable call on a high hit on David Krejci.

Report: Kyrie Irving to undergo knee exam Thursday


Report: Kyrie Irving to undergo knee exam Thursday

The second opinion on Kyrie Irving’s sore left knee will be done on Thursday, according to the Boston Herald's Steve Bulpett.

Irving, who has missed the last four games, is expected to decide between having a surgical procedure performed to help alleviate some of the soreness, or continue to manage it with rest.


During the 2015 NBA Finals, Irving suffered a fractured left kneecap injury which was the beginning of Irving’s left knee issues.

While Irving has had soreness of some form during various stretches of play this season, Celtics coach Brad Stevens has seen him making progress recently.

“That knee is still sore,” Stevens said. “He’s worked really hard to manage it throughout the entire season. He’s had some pretty good days recently. I’m encouraged by the big picture.”

But Stevens has made it clear that he supports Irving getting a second opinion, adding that Irving’s absence is due to the knee being too sore for him to play at a level he’s accustomed to.

“He’s out because of knee soreness, not because we’re choosing to rest him,” Stevens said. “That’s the bottom line. Again, we want him to feel 110 percent. He wants to feel 110 percent. Obviously, we’re fortunate we created a cushion early on in the year with playoffs and everything else. This is not one of those situations where we’re choosing to rest someone; it’s because he has a sore knee.”