Back in December of 2014, the Mavs agreed to deal the 26-year-old Marquette product to the Celtics as they thought Rajon Rondo was the missing piece to their quest to contend for the title. Rondo’s tenure with the team, however, only lasted half of a season, and Carlisle admitted via Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald that he felt a lot of regret trading the new-developed Crowder.
“We shouldn’t have traded him.”
“He was shooting it pretty good when he was here,. He was getting into the high threes (percentage) from 3, and had some stretches where he was going 40. The only thing that took awhile, and he got a lot better toward the end of his run here, was his free throw shooting. But he’s got that solved. He’s one of those guys with the versatility to play different positions, he can switch onto smaller guys. As can (Marcus) Smart. Those kind of guys are becoming increasingly valuable.”
The 6-foot-6 small forward said he was happy to hear the praise he received from his former coach and also recalled the time he spent in Dallas.
“I’m really pleased to hear that coming from him, because he’s a hard-nosed coach.”
“I think it worked out how I wanted it to at the time. I had a good time here, but at the same time I wanted to play more. It feels like my hard work is paying off a little bit, and at the time I was putting in a lot of time in the gym, and I felt like it wasn’t paying off for me. It was frustrating at the time.”
His season averages of 13.9 points, 5.3 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.1 steals per game may not be eye-popping, but what the numbers don’t show is the toughness and hustle he gives the Celtics night in and night out. Crowder has been arguably the most important player behind Isaiah Thomas for the Celtics in their successful 2016-17 season.
Carlisle may not be able to bring him back to the team, but what he can do is to use him as an example to some of his young players to try and replicate the two-way play style that’s hard to find in the league today.