Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle was impressed with the two triple-doubles Jae Crowder recorded in consecutive games last week with the Texas Legends of the NBA Development League.
But while Crowder was able to display his all-around skills against lesser talent, the jury is still out on whether he can excel on the NBA level.
“It’s a different game and they’re playing a lot smaller down there,” Carlisle said. “But look, two triple-doubles in a row in any professional league is pretty impressive.
“So I definitely put some stock in it.”
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So does Crowder.
“It shows that I’m above that and that I can play,” Crowder said. “And it gave myself a sense of confidence that I needed knowing that I can still put it in with the ball in my hands, and not just be a spot-up shooter.
“I’m just trying to be an all-around player like I know I’m capable of, and I’m trying to gain the confidence of my teammates back.”
Crowder spent most of this season in the Mavs’ rotation, but recently was demoted in favor of Wayne Ellington. However, Crowder returned when Ellington missed Wednesday’s game against the Denver Nuggets because of personal reasons.
Crowder recorded eight points and four rebounds in 16 minutes in the Mavericks’ loss.
Regaining his playing time has been difficult at best for Crowder.
“It’s not easy, but it’s a part of it,” he said. “It’s a job and I just come to work every day, and whenever my time comes make the best of it.”
Carlisle said Crowder’s success in the D-League is a positive sign.
“Does it translate into him getting triple-doubles up here? Not necessarily,” Carlisle said.
“But it shows that he’s doing a lot of good things on offense, he’s rebounding the ball and he’s active. It’s good, and it’s good that he’s gotten an opportunity to play some.”
Not showing his age
Mavericks guard Vince Carter believes he can play at least two more seasons.
“I still love the game, I still enjoy playing, I still enjoy competing and being around the guys,” said Carter, who turned 37 in January. “Sometimes it’s just tough when you go to practice and you’re like, ‘Man, I feel 37 today.’
“I have to work hard just to compete and stay relevant.”
Carter admits just preparing for a game has its challenges.
“It hurts — sometimes it hurts,’’ said Carter, who becomes a free agent this summer.
“If you would have asked me back then at 25, ‘Hey, you’re going to probably play to 40,’ I would say there’s no way I would even make it to 30-something.”