4. Crabbe in a whale of a slump
Allen Crabbe shot the ball so well after the All-Star break last season for the Brooklyn Nets that it sort of made everyone forget how much he struggled early in his first season with the team.
After the break, Crabbe shot .435/.414/.878 and averaged 15.1 points per game. That came after a first half in which he was just .397/.363/.840 and averaged 12.5 points per game.
But if you rewind to last October, when Crabbe was coming off a preseason ankle injury, you recall that Crabbe hit only 35.8 percent overall and 34.9 percent from 3-point range.
Those numbers are positively Stephen Curry-esque compared to what he’s done through the first 10 games he’s played this season.
Tuesday night, Crabbe played 22 minutes and was 3-for-12 overall and made just 1-of-5 from 3-point range. To say his shot has no rhythm right now would be an insult to all the out-of-rhythm shooters in the world.
No, Crabbe is beyond that point now. Again coming off a preseason ankle injury, Crabbe’s shot is totally out of sorts right now. On Tuesday, he missed from deep. He missed from midrange. He missed at the rim. Name a spot — he likely missed from there, too, or so it seemed at least.
On the season, Crabbe’s shooting line is .256/.275/12-for-16.
To his credit, he’s making other contributions. His defense Tuesday night was very good. He was aggressive as heck on the glass, with seven rebounds — including three offensive boards. He blocked a shot and had a couple of assists.
But his shot is so out of sync. He’s leaning left on just about every release. Some of his more recent attempts have had a noticeable hitch at the top. He’s trying to wish the ball in.
The one really nice release he had Tuesday was one of those that came late in the shot clock, where there was no time to think about it.
This is a multi-layered problem for the Nets. Brooklyn is about to get DeMarre Carroll back from injury, which is going to impact the rotation at the 3 and 4. Crabbe’s been getting most of his minutes at the 3. If Carroll gets minutes at the 3, it’s likely to be coming out of Crabbe’s share.
That is a very small role for your highest-paid player — at $18.5 million this season — to have.
Taking that a step further, Crabbe is a shooter. A shooter who is at 25.6 percent overall and 27.5 percent from 3-point range has less than zero value as a potential trade asset.
And the more poorly Crabbe shoots, the more likely it is he will look to exercise his $18.5 million option for next season rather than decline it and see what he can get as an unrestricted free agent.
The obvious answer is that he has to shoot better. But without some sort of intervention at this point, it could be a long wait for him to shoot himself out of this.