There are a number of ways to look at Allen Crabbe’s first year with the Nets.
Let’s start with his contract. He made $19.3 million this season and will make $18.5 million in each of the next two, the final year a player option. You can look at in gross terms. It’s a lot of money, no matter who’s getting it, almost one-fifth of the salary cap. On the other hand, you can note that he was traded for Andrew Nicholson, who would have made $6.1 million last year plus $6.9 million in each of the next two years, no player option. Looking at it in net terms, Crabbe’s cost drops to $11.6 million. And of course, Nicholson is out of the league, his salary stretched through 2024.
Now, how about performance? Crabbe averaged career highs in scoring at 13.2 points per game, in minutes at 29.3 and in rebounds at 4.3. He had 16 games where he scored 20 or more points, including a game of 41 on his 26th birthday and 34 in early February. He had never had a game of 30+ before. And of course, he broke the Nets record for three pointers made with ease, becoming the first Net to finish the season with 200 three’s. He also played very good defense. On the other hand, his 3-point percentage was 37.8, down from 44.4 percent his last year in Portland. That represents a drop of 67 places, from second to 69th among three point shooters.
“I didn’t have the consistent season I wanted to have,” Crabbe told BrooklynNets.com. “But I got one year under my belt [in Brooklyn] and I know where I can be effective on this team and what I can bring – what I can do. Just go into off-season and come back a completely different player.”
As Brooklynnets.com noted, “It wasn’t uncommon to see him drop 25 points one night and follow it up with 6 the following game. Part of that was down to assertiveness.”
Teammate Caris LeVert may have said it best.
“He’s a really good shooter – a really efficient shooter, he gets it out quick,” LeVert said. “We need him to be aggressive because he’s so talented. He’s a very unselfish player so being aggressive for him is just flipping that notch a little bit.”
Crabbe was not the Nets first choice for the 3. They signed Otto Porter to a $106.5 million offer sheet which the Wizards matched on July 10. Two weeks later, the Nets traded for Crabbe. The Nets of course had wanted Crabbe badly enough in 2016 to tender him a $75 million offer sheet. As both Sean Marks and Kenny Atkinson said at the time of the trade, nothing that happened in 2016-17 deterred them from thinking the 6’6” swingman was worth the money.
There were times when that confidence had to be tested. Crabbe went through a pretty bad slump in mid-season. In the month of December alone, he shot 30.7 percent from deep and 35.2 percent overall, putting up only 10 points a game. Also, he only put up 6.5 three’s per game, his lowest production of any month.
After repeated entreaties by his head coach, Crabbe became more aggressive at season’s end. He put up 9.2 per game in April, albeit a small sample against teams who were, for the most part, tanking. He averaged 21.2 points on 55/50/94 shooting. Crabbe understands that selfishness has to be part of his mantra, no more deferring. He’s not playing with Damian Lillard and C.J. McCullum anymore. The Nets need him.
“I didn’t really get to have much of summer [to prepare for this season], and with injuries, I missed some games this year. I definitely will have that in the back of my mind when I’m setting my goals before each and every season, to break my record,” Crabbe said. “That is something that I look forward to breaking each and every year.”
It would be a very big deal if Crabbe can do that. He did develop his game this season. Although he scored those 41 points with the aid of eight 3-pointers on his birthday, more impressive in some ways were those games of 29 and 34. As Brooklynnets.com points out, he showed more balance, driving the ball as well as launching from deep.
Atkinson. like Crabbe, is looking forward to off-season. The head coach noted at the end-of-season press conference that D’Angelo Russell, Jarrett Allen as well as Crabbe didn’t get a full off-season. He expects big things as a result.
“Listen, I think it’s D’Angelo, but it’s also Jarrett Allen, it’s also our players … Allen Crabbe ... that haven’t gone through an offseason with us. It’s really going to be their collective buy-in, their commitment to what we’re trying to accomplish in the off-season.”
- BROOKLYN NETS SEASON REVIEW: ALLEN CRABBE - Alex Labidou - Brooklyn Nets