Today’s featured draft profile will be on the University of Cal’s 3-point specialist, Allen Crabbe. Arguably the best pure shooter in this year’s class, the 2013 PAC-12 Player of The Year is best known for his seemingly unlimited range and easy-going attitude on the court. At 6’6 with good length, he has the frame of a prototypical shooting guard, and possesses a solid skill-set that could fill a need on just about any team in the NBA. Labeled as a late first round pick when he initially declared, it appears that an impressive performance at the pre-draft combine has upped Crabbe’s value, as some mocks have him going in the teens. The Knicks will be bringing in another group of possible picks for workouts on Monday, and Crabbe will be one of the prospects in attendance.
Birthday: 4/4/92 – Projected NBA Position: Shooting Guard – Class: Junior – Ht: 6-6 – Wt: 197 – Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
2012-13 Per Game Averages: 18.4 Points – 2.6 Assists – 6.1 Rebounds – 45.9 FG% – 34.8 3P% – 81.3 FT%
– Pure shooter
– Displays excellent form and elevation on shot
– Deadly in spot-up situations
– Very good coming off screens and curls/understands how to work without the ball
– Runs the break well
– Solid size for the position/has length to be defensive pest
– Inconsistent effort on defense/lacks focus
– Can’t consistently create off the dribble
– Not a strong ball handler/uneasy in traffic
– Questionable finishing ability
– Lacks explosiveness/not an exceptional athlete
Crabbe is without question one of the best shooters in this year’s draft, and it doesn’t take long to see why. At 6’6, with his long arms and a textbook shooting stroke, Crabbe has the ability to effectively shoot over the top of his defender. His mechanics are sound and consistent, with the next attempt no different from the last, whether or not there is a hand in his face. His ability to receive the pass and seamlessly enter his shooting motion makes him equally dangerous in catch and shoot situations, as well as when spotting up on the perimeter. He squares his shoulders to the rim, elevates, and releases the ball at the apex of his jump without any hitch in his shot.
Crabbe also shows a solid understanding of how to work without the ball and get himself open. Being one of the top 3 scorers in the PAC-12 Conference last year, Crabbe often saw opposing teams throw the kitchen sink at him defensively, but he countered with his ability to use screens and curls to get open. His footwork is very good and he never stops moving on the offensive end, always making his defender work. Crabbe is also a solid threat on the break, as he runs the floor well and takes good angles to the basket.
Although he’s a pretty good athlete, creating off the dribble has proven to be to weakness for Crabbe. While not terribly slow, he doesn’t have a quick enough first step to beat defenders off the dribble, and the few times he enters the lane (only 4.2 free throw attempts per game in 2012-13 season) he’s still not very consistent when finishing over length. His sub-par ball-handling can also get him into trouble when he tries to attack the basket, as he isn’t especially comfortable in traffic.
Although Crabbe has a good frame at 6’6, and possesses a near 7-foot wingspan, he isn’t as good of a defender as he should be. When defending on-ball, Crabbe is at his best; he’s engaged and uses his length to harass the ball-handler. Off-ball is where Crabbe’s deficiencies come to light, as he suffers from lapses in focus. He can get caught ball-watching and will lose his man, often leading to backdoor cuts and alley-oop opportunities. Crabbe’s motor on that side of the ball is a question-mark as well, as it’s too easy for his man to shake him with a single screen. He also has a bad habit of standing straight up and not getting down into a strong defensive stance, making it too easy for the ball handler to get a step on him. At 197 pounds, he’s still somewhat wiry and could stand to add some mass and strength to prevent getting bullied by larger shooting guards.
Despite being one of the NCAA’s purest shooters in 2013, and being named the best player in the PAC-12 Conference last year, you probably know of Crabbe for something much less flattering: this famous incident with his former head coach at Cal, Mike Montgomery. During a February home game against the USC Trojans, the Golden Bears found themselves down double-digits early in the 2nd half. Cal had just surrendered another bucket to see the deficit balloon to 12, and when Crabbe jogged across half-court after in-bounding the ball, Montgomery had seen enough.
He called a timeout, confronted Crabbe, and shoved him before several players had to intervene. A teammate pulled him off the court to calm him down, and minutes after returning to the bench, was reinserted into the game by Montgomery; sparking a 40-20 run by Cal, including 14 points from Crabbe. After an inspiring 76-68 comeback win, Crabbe handled the situation with professionalism, and deemed it as water under the bridge. Montgomery claimed Crabbe was out of it and he needed his best player to wake up, and this leads into one of my concerns regarding Crabbe.
A talented player who has drawn comparisons to Allen Houston from some NBA scouts, he’s often been criticized for too often going through the motions. Much of his defensive deficiencies are mechanics/mental, and on the offensive side of the ball for the Golden Bears last year, it was too common to see him not being as aggressive as he should have been. Crabbe is a natural scorer who when engaged can be very dangerous, it’s just odd as to why he doesn’t play like it more often. While I don’t condone what Montgomery did that day, it’s clear that Crabbe sometimes needs a kick to get going, and I believe he’d get that from head coach Mike Woodson. Crabbe is a knock-down 3-point shooter with good size and length for the position, as well as a decent rebounder who will run the break and add some depth. Don’t be surprised if you see Crabbe in a New York cap come draft night.