Crowder is the posterboy for slept on rookie hype this season, no doubt. He was before the draft even (along with Will Barton).
NBA pundits are impressed with Crowder early on, already calling him a steal. Everybody's catching on, even the non-stat-heads seem to be a fan of his game so far.
But how good is he really? Was he merely drafted lower than he should have been? As in, is he actually a top 5 or top 10 player in this past draft, or is he merely say, the 15th best player in the draft (and thus, still a steal given where he was drafted). In my opinion, that remains to be seen.
For reference, here's what the Wages of Wins crew came up with for their player projections right before this year's draft: http://wagesofwins.com/2012/06/25/2012- ... -rankings/
Their top 3 are: 1. Anthony Davis, 2. Jae Crowder, 3. Bradley Beal.
The year before their top 3 were: 1. Kenneth Faried, 2. Kyrie Irving, 3. Kawhi Leonard
That's just a small snapshot of their projections, but at first glance, it definitely bodes well for their credibility, even on a small scale.
Keep in mind this is just one website's projections. But they are a good group of NBA stat-heads, whether you agree with all of their theories or not. So for now let's just look at their projections.
Here's a quote about Crowder made about 2 weeks ago from the NBA Geek, basically a sister site of Wages of Wins, even though it's just one guy's work. "This guy will be a huge star (in production if not recognition). No question in my mind. You know this if you've been reading my blog, but it really amazes me that he's still kind of a "secret". He shouldn't be any more of a secret than Faried was. In other words, all the signs are there that he is exactly what he looked like in college, which is 'freakishly good'. Yet, he's 6'3". We need to just get over it and move along. If he gets all the baskets and all the rebounds, why are we all so damn hung up about this?"
They aren't just saying that Crowder was undervalued, they're saying that he was one of the elite players in this draft.
So far Crowder has played 7 games in the NBA. Everybody's impressed, like I said earlier. But are his stats all that great so far? I'm not convinced. Again, it's a very small sample size, one way or the other, so I'll wait before I anoint him a star or a bust.
Some of Crowder's stats so far:
Usage Rate: 16.1%
Offensive Efficiency Rating: 103
Defensive Efficiency Rating: 106
Wins Produced Per 48 Minutes: .016
Obviously there's more to the story, both good and bad, but those were some of the most interesting stats in my opinion.
Thus far, Crowder has not been elite, statistically speaking. He's been far from it. Statistically speaking, he has not only been a below average player, he's dangerously close to being one of the few players who actually causes his team to lose games when he is on the floor.
To put this in terms we might understand around here, the only Wizards who have been worse (cost their team more wins) so far this season are Booker, Pargo, and Seraphin. This speaks volumes, however, to this merely being too small of a sample size.
But I don't get why people are already labeling Crowder as a steal. I get why pre-draft he stood out as a potentially huge steal, numbers-wise. I liked him them, and I still like him now. 7 games is too soon to judge any player. But let's not get ahead of ourselves as say Crowder has already started living up to these lofty projections. He hasn't. Yet.