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2013 NBA Draft analysis #2: Alan Crabbe

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  • 2013 NBA Draft analysis #2: Alan Crabbe

    Welcome to the 2nd edition of the 2013 draft prospect reviews! In the first analysis of this years' draft prospects, we reviewed Louisville big man Gorgui can find the analysis of Dieng and of all the previous seasons draft analysis articles in the archives of this site.

    Today we review the sharp shooting swingman from California-Berkeley, Alan Crabbe....who I think is one of the most interesting profiles this year.

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    A Los Angeles native, Crabbe was born on April 4th, 1992....making him 21 years old as he enters the 2013 draft. Measuring in at 6'6 1/4", 197lbs, and possessing a long wingspan of 6'11 1/4", Crabbe has outstanding size for a 2 guard at the NBA level, with the kind of body build that oozes potential to make gains in strength and athleticism as he enters the world of professional basketball. Clearly, there would be no size concerns for the team who drafts Crabbe in a few weeks.

    Averaging 18.4 ppg, 6.1 rebounds, and shooting almost 35% from 3 point range, Crabbe profiles as a potential wing scorer at the NBA level.


    There is alot to like in the offensive game of Alan Crabbe.

    I think what I like and appreciate more than most evaluators would be his actual stamina and offensive relentlessness. Crabbe played almost every minute of every game for California last year, and yet was probably the best player in college basketball at moving without the ball in Coach Mike Montgomery's motion based offense. Crabbe excelled as a cutter, reading screens, and doing an excellent job of coming off his screen "shoulder to hip" with the screen. I thought he "timed up" his cuts well most of the time, and did a great job of setting up his man as the screen was coming, in order to set up the screen angles. This type of offensive basketball is decidedly old school, as most young players these days rely on their own ball skills AFTER they make a catch, rather than doing all their work before the catch, like Crabbe does.

    Crabbe has outstanding footwork and balance coming off a screen. Some players are only good coming from the right to the left, or vice versa. This is because many players struggle with the process of getting their feet and steps down as they come off a screen in certain directions, due to a tendency to always want to use the same pivot foot all of the time. (this method is taught by many coaches at the high school and college levels). But in the NBA, a player can't always use the same pivot foot and turn the same way each time, ao many of the wings that look good as shooters at younger levels will in fact struggle with the aded speed and length of the NBA game due to this....Crabbe already has his footwork down and excels at it, which is a big deal for me when evaluating shooters.

    What Crabbe does better than any player in this draft, and what makes him project I believe into a very specific type of NBA offensive weapon ahead of many wings in this draft is his ability to "square in the air". What I mean by that is this: Crabbe can catch the ball facing the wrong way WITHOUT his feet being set, and still have the length and body control to SQUARE HIS SHOULDERS UP while in the air, in order to keep his shots online.

    This is a huge skill none of the other wings I am looking at in this draft seem to have. This makes him a ton more difficult to guard coming off screens for defenders, and because his length is so extraordinary and his shot mechanics so grooved, Crabbe will be able to get his jump shot off over trailing defenders at an extremely high level of accuracy.

    Many college players struggle to adapt to the added distance of the NBA line. This will not be an issue with Crabbe, who already possesses deep range with his jump shot. While his percentage of just under 35% may not seem that outstanding, consider that Crabbe took a ton of tough shots for a fairly weaponless Golden Bears squad, and was the focal point of the opponents defense and game planning every night. I project him as a much lower usage player in the NBA, so his quality of shot attempts with open space will increase. I believe Crabbe will be a 42% and above 3 point shooter in the NBA going forward, making him a major potential offensive weapon with the right kind of system and teammates to play with. And with his feet set and facing the basket while open, I believe Crabbe will be a 50% or above type shooter in that situation, which will put his as one of the best in the league in that specific situation.


    It is a really good thing Crabbe is an outstanding shooter offensively, because he struggles to score if he is forced to put it on the deck.

    Crabbe is what some call a "dependent scorer", which means he will never be able to create shots on his own off the dribble. He will need to come off screens, or be the pitch guy in driible and kick situations, or be a trailer type in transition. However, the ability to be able to come off screens is a big deal, because that is an asset that many wings coming into the league now cannot do....lots of guys are spot up guys but can't shoot on the move, Crabbe is one rung better than those guys because he can in fact do that.

    But clearly, the dribble is not Crabbe's friend. He doesnt get low enough with the dribble, and tends to go sideways or at 45 degree angles rather than "driving in straight lines". Off a long closeout, I still don't project him to be athletic or strong enough to be able to shot fake and drive the ball in that situation, instead he is likely to dribble one or two steps sideways and reload or just pass the ball next instead of driving hard to the basket. If you are looking for a guy to "put his chin on the rim", Crabbe is not your guy.

    Crabbe can't help you by playing on the ball or initiating offense at all. He clearly is a non ballhandling type of 2 guard, so if you do choose him, you'll need to pair him with at least one superior ballhandler, and ideally two ballhandlers, so you can limit any need for him to have to handle vs pressure defense.

    I would call him a "playrunner" and a "sniper" type of player. As a playrunner, he is clearly someone you can design screen actions off the basketball in order to free him up for jump shots. But you'll have to work hard to do that and design things for him specifically, otherwise you are wasting his cutting prowess. As a sniper, he can be effective with a very high paced attack as a spot up shooter in transition, or if you have a dominant big man or other player that demands double teams, he can space the floor for you and make teams pay for leaving him. You certainly are never going to ballscreen for him to come off the dribble at all, but I can see a scenario where you could get creative and use him as a screener himself in a 1-2 pick/roll, or set up some sort of "screen/rescreen" types of plays off ballscreens for him.

    These facts make him very dependent on who is on the floor with him, and dependent on the style of play and system the team who selects him will run.


    One big question mark for me will be his ability to feed the post.

    As an outstanding shooter who can't really attack off the dribble (at least as of yet), when he catches the ball on the wings he will usually either be shooting or being really crowded defensively. It will be really unlikely for teams to "dig" the post off of Crabbe when he is your post feeder, but this is only a real issue for the defense if Crabbe is actually good at it. I have some doubts to believe he will be, but I also have some encouragement that he could other words, the jury is still out from the tape I have seen.

    To be a "winning" player, he is going to have to become a good post feeder. His length should be a real asset as a passer, as he will be able to step around the defense or throw it over them with accuracy.

    However, my concerns are as a scout is that his lack of strength and balance vs pressure, along with his lack of ability to handle the ball well enough to get passing angles off the dribble, will make him a real liability in trying to feed the ball to the post. It isn't hopeless, but it is unclear at this point. Length and shooting ability isn't enough to make you a good post passer, you need strength and balance to knock the defenders off you when the chest you up, and you have got to be a good enough dribbler to protect the ball while you dribble to improve your passing geometry. Much like Paul George and George Hill struggle to do that for us at times for their respective positions, I worry about Crabbe's ability to get the ball to your bigs, and that would ding him some in my evaluation depending on the team I was scouting and evaluating for. In Indiana's case, I do think it is a problem.


    Crabbe, mainly due to his really really good length, did manage to rebound well in college. In fact, I viewed him as the single best rebounding 2 guard in the country. Keep in mind that this will decrease significantly in the NBA, due to his length not being as extraordinary, his minutes being cut, and the fact that offensively he will likely be parked outside 23 feet almost all of the time.

    Still, Crabbe showed a willingness to at least chase long rebounds down, get his own misses back when he cut near the paint on straight cuts or curls,a nd shows some good lift and excellent hands.

    While no one will draft him based on his rebounding prowess, he will at least hold his own I think as a backcourt rebounder. Of course, unlike our own Lance Stephenson, I don't view Crabbe as being able to do anything with a rebound other than hold it and pass it to his point guard. Still, a small plus for Crabbe on the ledger sheet for being a willing rebounder.


    If you like Crabbe as a player, you probably liked the above paragraphs about him. If that is the case, you should now quit reading, because the next few paragraphs are not going to be pretty for you.

    Despite having outstanding length and a size and athleticism advantage at the college level over most of his matchups, Crabbe was an absolute atrocious defender, especially for a player of his skill level and pure ability. Why was that? And can it be fixed?

    The why part is easy when you see the tapes, and the myriad of reasons are obvious.

    The biggest problem among many is Crabbe's absolute unwillingness to get in any sort of a defensive, athletic stance on the defensive end of the floor. It is very hard to be quick and contest drives or shots when you are standing straight up defensively, and that is what Crabbe was doing consistently. While others will give him a pass because he moved so much and used so much energy offensively, I will not, because winning ball players simply don't take that many plays off with that little of effort or concentration.

    Crabbe was a sieve defensively. His lack of being in a proper stance meant guys who sholdnt have been able to do so shot over him with ease. Any dribble drive at Crabbe got by him, as his already average quickness was compromised by poor defensive stance technique and a lack of upper body strength. So, on the ball, Crabbe was pretty poor, and I doubt anybody would argue this too much.

    Unfortunately, as a help defender he was even worse. In basketball defensive parlance, there is a concept called "jumping/sprinting to the ball" (I say sprint, others say jump). What it basically means is this: when the ball moves away from you, you move toward the ball and away from your man toward the help.

    What Crabbe did instead was just stand frozen like a statue in the park. Especially when his man passed the ball, Crabbe would just stay frozen right in his tracks and watch people drive right through his "gap". Sometimes he would be so mesmerized by his own man that he would turn his back to the ball and not even see dribblers coming at him. Other times, he would be hypnotized by the basketball and stare at it, totally missing his own man cutting behind him for layups, or more often ending up as a spectator instead of "helping the helpers", a key team defensive concept.

    I don't want to hear anyone say he may have struggles individually, but he "can be a good team defender". At this point, Crabbe has shown nothing else but being a completely lazy and selfish defender at the college level, and that type of poor defense had a corrosive effect on his team this season.

    I also don't want to hear anyone blame his college coach for not teaching him defensively, because Mike Montgomery is very well respected and has been successful for a long time, including a 2 year stint in the NBA. No, Crabbe was a poor individual defender and a really bad team defender, only because Crabbe didn't put forth the effort and time and commitment to be better. That's my opinion.

    Having said that, there is hope for the young wing from Cal. Crabbe does have that outstanding length I am enamored with, and playing fewer minutes in a reduced role with better defenders around him could in fact help him out. And, if he lands with a team with good leadership and a defensive minded culture, Crabbe may make some drastic type of improvements. No doubt he did save his energy for offense in college, as he had to more or less carry California every night. So, there are some mitigating factors, and I suspect some organization somewhere is going to believe they can make him better defensively and use his above average offensive skills in the best way possible......will it be us, and should it be us?


    Other things worth noting with Crabbe in my judgment:

    1. The kid showed some very bad on court body language at times with his teammates.
    2. On national television, he had a very bad confrontation with his coach, when Coach Montgomery got a bit physical with him and Crabbe refused to play for a while in a game.

    I am sure any team with Crabbe is going to go over these details in the interview process, and in fact I bet they are tailoring personality tests and even have private detectives on the ground in Berkeley interviewing teammates and other people in their background checks. Obviously, Coach Montgomery was reprimanded for the small push he gave Crabbe during a huddle, and he probably regrets doing it. No coach should put his hands on a player.

    Having said that, I have a real problem with Crabbe's lack of effort defensively, defeatest hang dog like body language, and a seemingly lack of toughness. I clearly see his talent offensively (I think he is the best shooter coming off screens in the draft) but I also think I see a lack of toughness mentally, and a lack of swagger that I think a player needs to be anything but a fringe NBA type player.

    I suspect Crabbe will stick in the league because of his one clear outstanding skill for quite a few years and that he will make alot of money as a professional, but as for the Pacers, I think they should pass, and I believe that they will pass, on the top shooting wing from California.


    As I said before, I think Crabbe best fits with a team with a ball dominant point guard, a creative and charasmatic coach who can reach him, and a defensive type culture that can teach him how to be a professional.

    We have 2 of those 3, but not the ball dominant point guard, and I think the character questions knock him off our board.

    Crabbe fits in a number of places however, and if he lands in one of these spots I think it benefits him greatly.

    BOSTON is a great fit for him at pick #16, as no coach in the league is more creative in getting a shooter open off screens than Doc Rivers. Rondo facilitates his game on a couple of different levels, so I think Boston would be a great fit for Crabbe. But, I don't think he ends up there because of the character concerns.

    MINNESOTA I think at pick #26 is his floor, as the Timberwolves need a shooter pretty bad, though they can't hide him defensively at all up there, which in my view would make him a bad selection for the new regime of Flip Saunders.

    My prediction on where he ends up is #25 with the LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS, which he will probably love, being that he gets to play for a strong team in his hometown, with a great ball dominant point guard in Chris Paul likely to be his running mate. That is a good fit for the laid back and somewhat passive and sensitive personality of Crabbe, and that is where I think he lands.


    Current NBA comparison: Anthony Morrow, or James Jones

    As always, this above scouting profile is just my opinion. Others have and will disagree, and time will tell on who ends up being correct.


  • #2
    Re: 2013 NBA Draft analysis #2: Alan Crabbe

    I agree 95% Crabbe is so stiff. He actually reminds me a bit of Kendall Marshall(in just movement) they both play so high. I wish he could play lower, but he obviously can't.

    I agree though. Crabbe was one of the worst defenders I have seen at the college level. It is like he just skipped over learning the defensive fundamentals of basketball really wierd.

    I don't think Crabbe is the best rebounding 2 in the draft. He was a decent rebounder and got a ton of easy boards. I never really saw him get any tough rebounds that a NBA SG wouldnt get. I would take several other SG's rebounding over him.


    • #3
      Re: 2013 NBA Draft analysis #2: Alan Crabbe

      I really appreciate this post because prior to this, I knew absolutely nothing about him.
      To be honest, his detriments sounds like they outweigh his benefits.

      How do you guys think he compares with Bullock?
      Peck is basically omniscient when it comes to understanding how the minds of Herb Simon and Kevin Pritchard work. I was a fool to ever question him and now feel deep shame for not understanding that this team believes in continuity above talent.


      • #4
        Re: 2013 NBA Draft analysis #2: Alan Crabbe

        Originally posted by BornReady View Post
        I really appreciate this post because prior to this, I knew absolutely nothing about him.
        To be honest, his detriments sounds like they outweigh his benefits.

        How do you guys think he compares with Bullock?
        I love Bullock compared to Crabbe. Crabbe I have said all along is a specialist. He won't be able to play a lot IMO. I do like Crabbe's skills offensively, he was fun to watch. I would pass on him if I was a GM. I would take a more complete player like Bullock who can play defense. No doubt Crabbe is a better mover without the ball than Bullock. Other than that I like every other part of Bullock's game over Crabbe.

        EDIT: I am sure Tbird will be doing a analysis on Bullock he will be drafted right around our pick.
        Last edited by pacer4ever; 06-06-2013, 05:19 PM.


        • #5
          Re: 2013 NBA Draft analysis #2: Alan Crabbe

          Anybody know why some mock drafts have us taking a Center?


          • #6
            Re: 2013 NBA Draft analysis #2: Alan Crabbe

            He can shoot, I like him. He'll learn defense in Indy. Defense can be learned.


            • #7
              Re: 2013 NBA Draft analysis #2: Alan Crabbe

              I saw Crabbe play in 2 of the tournament games and I loved him, but honestly I never payed attention to his D in those games.

              Every single report on him says the same thing, just a god awful defender, to bad, cause his offensive game is sweet. He has the length and athletic ability, anyone ever come out of college with D that bad and turned it around in the NBA?
              "Just look at the flowers ........ BANG" - Carol "The Walking Dead"


              • #8
                Re: 2013 NBA Draft analysis #2: Alan Crabbe

                Originally posted by Hoop View Post
                I saw Crabbe play in 2 of the tournament games and I loved him, but honestly I never payed attention to his D in those games.

                Every single report on him says the same thing, just a god awful defender, to bad, cause his offensive game is sweet. He has the length and athletic ability, anyone ever come out of college with D that bad and turned it around in the NBA?
                Marshon Brooks had the same issues in college(Brooks and Crabbe are about the same size 6'5 with the 7ft wingspan). That is the main reason besides tunnel vision and shot selection I didn't get the love for Brooks. He is just an awful defender. (Crabbe is worse than Brooks)

                I think defense can be coached to an extent(if you are average in college I believe you can be coached to be an average to slightly above average pro defender), but it takes a lot of effort and attention some guys just dont have that.

                But when you are as bad as Crabbe or Brooks I don't see a way you can be coached to become an average defender. They are just so bad. That is the main reason Marshon doesn't get much PT no defensive coach will play a guy that leaves his teammates out to dry.

                It would be interesting to see if anyone can come up with a name. I haven't come across any players in my time. I could give u a list of good defenders in college that were just average in the pros though lol.


                • #9
                  Re: 2013 NBA Draft analysis #2: Alan Crabbe

                  I really appreciate reading Thunderbird's analysis and scouting reports. Which is why I hope he is reading this reply. I'd like to know what he thinks about Jamal Franklin from San Diego State. If pacer4ever had any information on him I'd enjoy that as well. I think he has some very real potential we might look at should he be available to us in the draft.


                  • #10
                    Re: 2013 NBA Draft analysis #2: Alan Crabbe

                    Do not want Cabbe.

                    If, and that's a strong if, but if the Pacers draft a sg or sf, then I hope it's one of the following (and not necessarily in the first round):
                    Giannis (who I do hope the Pacers draft!)
                    Glen Rice Jr
                    Tim Hardaway Jr
                    Tony Snell
                    Reggie Bullock
                    First time in a long time, I've been happy with the team that was constructed, and now they struggle. I blame the coach.


                    • #11
                      Re: 2013 NBA Draft analysis #2: Alan Crabbe

                      After watching various tape on youtube this guy reminds me of Reggie in hitting shots WAY deep. I might be the only only.... but I would NOT be disapponted if Crabbe was the Pacers pick. The kid just has one beautiful stroke, much better form than Mr. Miller ever did.

                      Edit: Crabbe would be my pick for another reason.... the kid has big @ss ears that stick out just like Reggie. So there you have it.... Reggie's son we didn't know about.
                      Last edited by RWB; 06-10-2013, 12:25 PM.
                      You know how hippos are made out to be sweet and silly, like big cows, but are actually extremely dangerous and can kill you with stunning brutality? The Pacers are the NBA's hippos....Matt Moore CBS Sports....


                      • #12
                        Re: 2013 NBA Draft analysis #2: Alan Crabbe

                        Originally posted by RWB View Post
                        After watching various tape on youtube this guy reminds me of Reggie in hitting shots WAY deep. I might be the only only.... but I would NOT be disapponted if Crabbe was the Pacers pick. The kid just has one beautiful stroke, much better form than Mr. Miller ever did.

                        Edit: Crabbe would be my pick for another reason.... the kid has big @ss ears that stick out just like Reggie. So there you have it.... Reggie's son we didn't know about.
                        I haven't watched him much but it never fails that Thunderbird will evaluate a player and I will inevitably think that the guy being described is a Reggie clone. Klay Thomspon last year was that guy and I hate it when the TBird is right and the guy ends up going before our pick.