Let’s begin by putting ourselves in Jae Crowder’s shoes. You were a player who was selected in the 2nd round and not expected to make much of an impact in the NBA. You were traded on draft day and sent to the Dallas Mavericks. After the draft you broke out in the Preseason.
Crowder’s 2012-2013 preseason stats
With these impressive stats hype began to surround Jae Crowder. Many even called him “The steal of the draft”. He went on to play decent his rookie year but his performances started to decline around the All-Star break. The next season he found himself in and out of the D-League. He had a few games where he showed promise but still wasn’t playing well on a consistent basis. By the time his third season began he wasn’t even really a part of the rotation anymore. The Mavericks were deep at his position and there was really no room for him. That’s when things changed. As part of the Mavericks deal for Rondo Crowder was shipped over to the Celtics. At the time he was seen as just a filler player in the trade but that would quickly change. From the start of his time in Boston he performed at a high level on both ends. His shooting has steadily improved and has become a very competent player. Defensively he has learned how to use his body to make life miserable for whomever he is guarding. So now let’s move to the game against the Jazz. Jae Crowder came to the stadium expecting to hear cheers from the Celtics faithful. He received those cheers. The problem is that he also heard cheers for somebody else. Somebody that played the same position that he did. That player also happened to wearing the opposing uniform. That person’s name is Gordon Hayward. Hayward is a player the Celtics have been interested in for years. Not only is he skilled but he played under Brad Stevens at Butler. The two linking about in the NBA seems like a match made in heaven. After hearing the cheers Jae Crowder went on to have himself an amazing game. Scoring 21 points and making life rough for Hayward. Sure Hayward scored 21 but his impact on the game was minimal. Well after the game Jae Crowder took to twitter to vent his frustration. His frustration was directed at the Celtics fans who cheered Gordon Hayward before the game. Here are some of his tweets (Tweets have since been deleted)
Now do I agree with Crowder tweeting at fans after the game? No, but I also don’t think it’s that big of deal. People seem to forget all the times Bird got on the fans during his tenure in Boston. Bird called them out for not cheering loud enough during home games. Do you think Bird would stand for fans cheering for an opposing player? I can almost guarantee he’d be upset.(Not to compare Crowder to Bird but still)
Crowder feels disrespected and should feel disrespected. Since coming to the Celtics Crowder has given the fans everything he can give. Diving on the floors for loose balls, being the first to help a teammate and ever since he came to Boston he has never stopped improving. You can question a lot about Crowder but his effort and passion for the game is not one of them. I also look at Crowder as someone who helped to change the culture of this team. Once the big three left we were a team with a lot of assets but no clear direction. Once we got Crowder he brought a toughness to this team that spread to the rest of the locker room. Crowder may not be as good as Hayward but he surely thinks he is. I hate to quote Gary Tanguay but Crowder really does understand what it means to be a Celtic. He carries that Celtics pride on his chest every time he steps on the floor. That has to be worth something. Crowder was one of those guys who got to where he is by outworking everyone else. He is a guy who never backs down from a challenge. I’d take a guy like that on my team any day. So Crowder don’t let this deter you from being great. Use this to motivate you and prove to the naysayers just how good you really are. Celtics nation appreciates the work you have done and I hope you stick around for a long time.