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Memphis Grizzlies 2019-2020 Player Previews: Jae Crowder

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The 7 year forward has embraced his trade to Memphis, but is he long for the team?

NBA: Memphis Grizzlies-Media Day Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Jae Crowder was a perfect fit for the Grit-n-Grind Grizzlies. It’s a shame the Grizzlies acquired Crowder in the trade that *officially* ended the Grit-n-Grind era.

Regardless, Jae Crowder will quickly become a fan favorite in Memphis once the 2019-2020 campaign kicks off. His hard-nosed, defense-first mentality will be welcomed by Grizz Nation, and his veteran leadership will be helpful on such a young Grizzlies roster. It’s also helpful that Crowder has fully embraced being a leader for this team when we spoke with him last week at Grizzlies Media Day.

At 29 years old, Crowder is the second oldest (active) player on a Grizzlies squad that features 14 players under the age of 25. His leadership and ability to groom these young Grizzlies into professional basketball players can do wonders on and off the court for the team.

On a team that is sure to make many of mistakes, Crowder will be there to help them correct those mistakes.

2018-2019 Overview

NBA: Playoffs-Houston Rockets at Utah Jazz Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

Crowder played an integral role for the Jazz last season. Crowder averaged 11.9 points, 4.8 rebounds and shot the decently well from the field coming off the bench as a stretch four. His defensive versatility was key for the Jazz as Crowder is able to effectively cover the 1-4 positions.

Crowder and the 5th seeded Jazz ultimately fell to the 4th seeded Rockets in the first round of the playoffs.

Projected Role

Head Coach Taylor Jenkins made it clear at Media Day that Ja Morant, Jaren Jackson Jr., and Jonas Valanciunas were the only guaranteed starters going into opening night next season, with both wing positions up for grabs. Crowder figures to compete with Kyle Anderson for the starting 3 spot going into the season.

With Kyle Anderson more likely to be involved in the long-term vision of the Grizzlies, I’d suspect he will start, if healthy, with Crowder coming off the bench. Even though I suspect Crowder will be a role player off the bench, I’d expect him to get plenty of minutes next year at both the 3 and the 4 spot. However, don’t be surprised if Jae starts off the season in the starting lineup, as Kyle Anderson works his way back from shoulder surgery.

2019-2020 Best Case Scenario

NBA: Charlotte Hornets at Utah Jazz Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

Jae Crowder is set to make $7.8 million in the final year of his contract, which will make him an appealing trade candidate for contending teams next season. Crowder has never been a flashy guy with stats that jump out at you. Instead, he’s known for being a consistently solid player and calming presence on the court. The best case for Crowder (and the Grizzlies) would be that Crowder continues his consistent, steady play and eventually gets traded to a playoff team come February.

If Crowder can improve upon his average 3-point shooting (34%), then the Grizzlies will have even more leverage in trade negotiations. Regardless, Crowder figures to be a hot commodity for contending teams come February.

Best-case scenario for the Grizzlies would be if they could get a similar package in what they gave up to acquire Justin Holiday last season — 2 second round picks.

2019-2020 Worst Case Scenario

The absolute worst case scenario for Crowder and the Grizzlies would be if he got injured for an extended period of time, or right at the trade deadline. Even if Crowder’s numbers drop slightly this season, he’ll still be a viable trade candidate due to him being on a relatively cheap expiring contract and teams believing his numbers will improve being added to a playoff roster. An injury, however, could derail trade negotiations for the Grizzlies. The Grizzlies need to keep Crowder healthy.

Overall Expectations

NBA: Memphis Grizzlies-Media Day Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Jae Crowder said it himself at Media Days that he holds himself to a high standard of expectation, and frankly I am going to do the same. I expect Crowder to maintain the positive attitude he has had when asked about being a vet on a young, rebuilding team. I expect Crowder to still go out and compete every night and help these young guys get better.

Crowder doesn’t need to put up flashy numbers, or play defense at a First-Team level. He just needs to come in and do what he’s done throughout his career and be a steady presence on the floor. As long as he does that, it’s likely the Grizzlies will reward him and send him to a playoff team by February’s trade deadline.

Crowder most likely won’t be a Grizzly for long, but fans will surely love him for the time that he is here.

Follow @sbnGrizzlies