Allen Crabbe Season Review: Ready for His Close-Up

After being traded for pennies on the dollar from Portland, Allen Crabbe has found a home in Brooklyn. Throughout the year he showcased enticing potential, an elite (if not inconsistent) shooting stroke, and a knack for scoring. Here’s how he did it:

Offense

Shooting Stroke

Although inconsistent, Crabbe is one of the most dangerous shooters in the NBA when he’s on and easily the most dangerous on the Nets, largely for his ability to do things like this:

Sure he wasn’t able to do this with any real consistency, but he still was one of the most valuable shooters the Nets had this year. His raw three-point percentage won’t impress anyone (37.8%) but he shot an elite 40.7 percent off the catch on six attempts per game. The prowess he brought on the perimeter was especially important to the Nets because they really didn’t have any shooters outside of him to make the offense run the way it was designed.

Furthermore, he had thirteen games with over five three’s and was easily the most dangerous shooter on Brooklyn when he was rolling and was able to single-handedly change the dimensions of the game by merely being on the court.

Because of the constant defensive attention he required, he was able to open up driving lanes which otherwise wouldn’t have been there as well as make the defense pay when it collapsed. When he played the team averaged 5.5 more assists and registered the second highest swing in offensive rating than when he sat.

He’s not a consistently great shooter by any stretch of the imagination, but his contributions to and presence on the Nets is immensely valuable.

Star Potential

On an individual level Crabbe made a leap in the second part of the season, peaking in February when he averaged 17.1 points per game while shooting 43.4% from the field and 38.4 percent from three and showing real star potential. From his 34-point outburst against the perpetually-a-dumpster-fire, Detroit Pistons, to his clutch 28-point performance against Anthony Davis‘ Pelicans, he lit up the month.

Why did this happen?

The short answer is that he started to figure out how to attack off the dribble. Throughout the month, he started making plays like this and looking for his shot more aggressively:

As you can see in the clips above, Crabbe found himself blowing by defenders with ease when they had to respect his shot. Throughout the second half of the year, he attacked the basket and hunted for his shot with more aggression than ever before. And although the team only won one game that month, Crabbe was making legitimate personal improvement and the stats showed it.

Not only did his raw numbers reflect growth, but the advanced stats did as well. He scored an astronomically-high 1.07 points per possession in isolation (89% percentile) and was a real weapon down the stretch for Brooklyn. For awhile, it looked like he was just about to make a sustainable leap from useful role player to fringe star.

So What Happened?

Despite the fact he can be one of the more incendiary players in the league, he also happens to be one of the most inconsistent. For example, while he had a stellar February which saw his efficiency numbers skyrocket, he had a horrendous December in which he shot just 35.2 percent from the field and 30.7 percent from three.

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