Allen Crabbe is finally breaking out of his shooting slump. The timing couldn’t be any better for him and the Brooklyn Nets.
The loss of Caris LeVert, Brooklyn’s best player, to injury has put an added emphasis on increased production from Crabbe. The Nets need Crabbe to step up, preferably sooner than later.
Brooklyn needs everyone stepping their game up to replace the 18.4 points per game from LeVert. But Crabbe gets the attention here because, quite frankly, he’s being paid to be that guy.
He is making a team-high $18.5 million this season and next. When the coin is coming in like that, the expectations come right along with it. You’re expected to be a key part of the solution, not the problem.
But it gets tough for a rebuilding team, on the come up, to justify paying that type of money to someone averaging less than 10 points per game.
Crabbe is a shooter, he has the shooter’s code in him. Keep shooting and shoot your way out of any slump. It’s admirable, it can also be painful to watch after a few games of seeing no results.
Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson has stuck with Crabbe, his career numbers justify the trust. A 39-percent career 3-point shooting percentage isn’t a stat any coach will just sweep under the carpet.
It appears Atkinson’s trust in Crabbe is beginning to pay off at a crucial time for the Nets. This week he’s raised his field goal percentage to 30 percent, his points per game to 8.2, and his 3-point percentage to 33 percent.
Crabbe is also beginning to put the ball on the floor and get to the basket, he’s cutting more and not settling for just the long-range shot. This needs to continue. He’s a career 47 percent shooter inside the 3-point line, this season, however, he’s only at 26 percent. There’s plenty of room there to improve.
In Brooklyn’s 119-113 loss to the Dallas Mavericks, Wednesday night, Crabbe almost single-handedly willed them to a come-from-behind win. He poured in a season-high 27 points on 7-of-11 shooting from deep. This included 12 straight points on four straight 3-pointers in the fourth quarter.
That’s the type of performance the Nets will need more of from Crabbe. His confidence is returning and the hope is that, with most shooters snapping out of slumps, the basket begins to look like an ocean to him.