Jae Crowder was brought to Milwaukee last season in a midseason trade. He was brought in in hopes to be a pivotal part of the team, but by the end of the series with the Miami Heat, he had barely seen any floor time. He had slammed the organization, saying he didn’t know what his purpose was.
Crowder played in a total of 18 games, injuries had a bit to do with that, but in the same breath, former coach Mike Budenholzer didn’t really see a spot for the swingman on the floor.
Fast forward to Oct. 10 of this year, and coach Adrian Griffin is shouting across the court to Crowder if he wants to leave the game, after playing in the first 11 minutes of the third quarter. Crowder stayed.
In an interview with Eric Nehm of The Athletic, Crowder said that he’s taking playing very serious this year:
“Once I get into it, I’m good. I’m in there. I’m taking this very serious. I’m taking these minutes serious. I’m taking this whole process of learning coach and learning a new system and all that very serious. Trying to elevate my game.”
Without the “big three” on the floor, coach Griffin has been looking to the younger players and those who are usually off-the-bench players to get their playing time in the preseason games. However, Griffin did say on Wednesday that Lillard and Antetokounmpo will be making their Bucks’ preseason debut against the Lakers on Sunday.
Bucks Head Coach Gives Kudos to Crowder
With Crowder taking charge in these preseason games, he’s been averaging 12 points per game on 55.6 percent shooting in 20 minutes per game. Griffin gave kudos to Crowder, saying how he brings a good presence to the team:
“It’s good to have a veteran presence out there,” Griffin said. “(Crowder) never gets rattled. I think he’s a calming presence for our team and also a good vocal leader. I couldn’t be happier about his contributions as far as his performance and about his leadership.
“He’s a veteran guy that just knows where his shots are going to come from, knows how to get his shot off. You can’t speed him up. He’s solid. You can tell he’s been around the block once or twice and played in some big time game, so he’s definitely a huge piece for us moving forward.”
This is way different from what Crowder had to say about Budenholzer and the atmosphere of the Bucks last season. He was not happy with the way things went, says to Jim Owzcarsky of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel how this new environment under Griffin is a great, competitive setting:
“It’s a great environment…It’s great competition. Everything is a competition. Everyone is trying to be their best and trying to win whatever drill it is. So it just brings out the best in everybody.”
Crowder Taking Training Camp Seriously
Jae Crowder re-signed to a one-year contract with Milwaukee in the offseason, taking the league minimum which is $2,019,706 per Spotrac. Crowder is determined to make his second season in Milwaukee a huge turnaround, proving last season was something beyond his control:
“I’m taking this training camp very seriously this year,” Crowder said. “Obviously, knowing that I missed last year. Just trying to blow it out in the terms of both ends, conditioning and learning-wise. Just trying to learn as much as possible before the real games start. So I’m taking this training camp more seriously than I would in the past few years.”
This new approach and mindset for Crowder has proven to be helpful thus far. In the first two preseason games, he’s looked really good, knocking some threes, attacking the basket, and threatening the defense.
While the Bucks are still working out what’s going to be the best plan of action for them on the floor, having veterans like Crowder who bring a good sense of leadership and power, are going to be super beneficial moving forward into the regular season.