Three keys to saving Allen Crabbe’s season from disappointment


Allen Crabbe has been a bit of a disappointment this season. After shooting a career-high 44.4 percent from downtown, he has regressed to 36.4 percent, the second worst mark of his career.

While he is averaging a career-high 12 points per game, Allen Crabbe has not shown much improvement this year. He has struggled a bit in his fifth season in the league, especially when compared to his numbers last year.

And when you consider his albatross of a contract, it gets worse. The Brooklyn Nets are essentially paying $19.3 million for a three-point specialist that 1.1 percentage point away from being out of the top 100 three-point shooters in the league.

But, that does mean Crabbe does not have any value. In fact, he brings rebounding and spacing to a team that needs both. What the Nets do not need, however, is $19.3 million taking up precious cap space.

So what can the Nets do in order to get more value out of Crabbe? First, they need to surround him with more three-point threats.

In his last season in Portland, Crabbe played alongside Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum, both excellent three-point shooters. Fun fact, both participated in the NBA Three-Point Contest. This opened up the floor and allowed Crabbe to get open looks. Defenders were more concerned with the Lillard and McCollum than Crabbe.

Kenny Atkinson would be wise to do something similar with his lineups. Spencer Dinwiddie, Joe Harris, DeMarre Carroll and Crabbe, four of the best three-point threats on the team, already play major minutes together. But imagine adding Nik Stauskas, the team’s best long range shooter, to the mix.

While a lineup of Dinwiddie, Stauskas, Harris, Crabbe and Carroll would be incredibly small, they could light it up from three at a given notice.

Also, the Nets should limit Crabbe’s minutes. It sounds more harmful, but Crabbe’s averaged over 25 minutes per game for the past three seasons. He may need a breather or two. Resting Crabbe could rejuvenate him and help turn his season around.

At 25-years-old, Crabbe still has not entered his prime, but it is never too late to think about the future. If he is indeed wearing down now, it does not bode well for the future. Resting Crabbe and limiting his minutes could do wonders, not for just season, but for the next few as well.

Finally, the Nets need to stop letting Crabbe shoot from the corner. He shoots 25 percent from the corner. That is worse than everyone on the team except for D’Angelo Russell — who he’s tied with, Timofey Mozgov, Jeremy Lin and Isaiah Whitehead. By the way, neither Whitehead or Lin attempted a corner three this season.

Crabbe is much better from the top of the arc. He knows it too. That is why 92 percent of his three-point shots are from anywhere but the corner. Eight percent does not sound like a lot of shot attempts, but for someone who can get cold quickly, shot selection matters.

It is not a given that by doing these Crabbe will turn his season around. But the Nets need to try. Else, they have a $19.3 million three-no D player on their hands.

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It is important to note that while Crabbe has regressed, he is still having a good season by definition. He has upped his rebounding to four boards per game and is still a legit scorer. The Nets just need to get more out of him.