Since GM Danny Ferry was hired by the Atlanta Hawks last summer, an emphasis has been placed on offensive spacing. The Hawks are attempting to follow the blueprint laid out in San Antonio, one that was ingrained into Ferry during his time with the Spurs organization as a player and front office member. The offense will be point guard focused, which means a majority of the offense will center around point guard penetration, allowing the PG to either create a shot for himself or his teammates.
Hawks fans saw the offensive blueprint implemented this season. Many of the team’s possessions were set for Jeff Teague to drive, draw the defense, and pass the ball out to open shooters. Hawks players like Kyle Korver, Anthony Tolliver, DeShawn Stevenson, Devin Harris, and John Jenkins were the beneficiaries of Teague’s penetrations to the basket, which collapsed the defense, allowing Teague to pass the ball out to one of the shooters for an open look (particularly for a corner 3-point shot, which is considered a high percentage shot).
Fans can only assume they will be seeing more of this offensive strategy during the era of new coach Mike Budenholzer, a disciple of the San Antonio Spurs way of doing things.
With this in mind, it is possible the Atlanta Hawks will be looking to add more shooters to their roster when the NBA Draft rolls around in a couple of weeks. And, in this draft, one of the higher regarded shooters hails from the University of California — Allen Crabbe.
Allen Crabbe (pronounced ‘crab’) enters this summer’s draft as an accomplished college basketball player. In his 3-year playing career for the Golden Bears, Crabbe racked up all kinds of individual awards. He was the Pac-10’s Freshman of the Year in the 2010-2011 season, won this year’s Pac-12 Conference Player of the Year (the conference added two more teams after Crabbe’s freshman season), and earned 3rd Team All-American honors from both the NABC and Sporting News this season.
An impressive collegiate career, indeed, here are Allen’s numbers from his ESPN Player Profile:
- 2010-2011: 33.8 minutes, 13.4 pts., 5.3 rebs., 2.0 assists (Conference Freshman of the Year)
- 2011-2012: 34.1 minutes, 15.2 pts., 5.7 rebs., 2.1 assists (f1st Team All-Conference)
- 2012-2013: 36.2 minutes, 18.4 pts., 6.1 rebs., 2.6 assists (Conference Player of the Year, 1st Team All-Conference, 3rd Team All-American)
Crabbe’s numbers improved in all areas throughout each of his three seasons at Cal. Also, Crabbe finished as a career 44.7% (533-1195) shooter from the field and a career 38.2% (209-547) from beyond the 3-point line.
It is easy to see why so many mock drafts have Crabbe slated to be a first-round selection.
Crabbe, despite all his accomplishments, has been labeled a bit of a flake. He is known to take plays off. Instead of aggressively helping his teammate on defense, for instance, Crabbe will often get caught watching and allow opposing players clear paths to the basket. Other times, he just sort of disappears and it’s hard to notice that he is even part of the game. An example of this occurred in Crabbe’s most noted and talked about moment from this past season.
During a February home game against USC, Crabbe drew the ire of California coach Mike Montgomery. Frustrated with Crabbe’s lack of energy and effort, Montgomery shoved Crabbe while Crabbe walked towards the Golden Bear huddle.
Here’s the video.
Whether or not you agree with Montgomery’s shove is your prerogative. But, notice when the shove takes place. Cal is down 12 points to a USC team they were expected to beat. What happened after the shove? Well, Crabbe responded in a positive way. He re-entered the game and scored 14 of his 23 points, leading Cal to a 76-68 victory. And, after the game, when it would have been easy for him to bash his head coach (many media members were), Crabbe didn’t. This is what he told the Associated Press after the game:
An emotional game was going on at the time and I guess he was just trying to motivate me. But everything’s fine. It’s under the bridge. He’s my coach, there’s no hard feelings. We’re just going to keep moving on.
Nice toughness and maturity shown by Crabbe in the aftermath of a controversial moment.
Coach Montgomery later admitted that his actions towards Crabbe were a bit out of line, but Crabbe never used the incident as a way to hurt his coach. Props to him for that!
And, without further ado, the Allen Crabbe scouting video; followed by my analysis:
- 1:25 — Crabbe shows nice hustle to block a shot against Arizona.
- 1:48 — (the infamous USC game) Crabbe makes an effort play on defense to help seal a win.
- 2:24 — An example of one Crabbe’s strengths–his ability to shoot over defenders.
- 2:45 — Allen makes a nice drive and takes (and makes) a pull-up jumper at the free throw line.
- 3:24 — Beautiful catch and pop, with a quick release, against UNLV.
- 3:53 — A deep (and I mean DEEP!) three against Syracuse, in the NCAA Tournament.
- 4;41 — Comes off a screen and shows off his quick shot release against Utah.
- 5:44 — Crabbe, once again, shows his ability to use screens to get open. This time, he drives in for two over likely Lottery pick Anthony Bennett.
- 8:59 — One of the biggest criticisms of Crabbe’s game is his inability to perform in isolation situations (Mike Woodson would not approve!). Here, Crabbe gets the ball at the top of the key, just beyond the 3-point line. He is not heavily guarded. Crabbe drives into the lane, losses and regains the ball, and throws up a wild miss. Again, he was not heavily guarded, but Crabbe looked totally rushed on this play. There was no reason for him not to score there, with the defense applying so little pressure.
- 11:01 — Crabbe avoids taking the ball all the way to the basket, seemingly because he does not want contact. Instead, he settles for a runner that misses and leads to a UNLV run out.
- 12:31 — I talked about how Crabbe sometimes get caught standing still and watching. Well, here’s a great example: after a scrum for the ball, Allen watches the opposing player drive right past him to the hoop (Note: this is in the first half of the USC game, the one where coach Montgomery shoves Crabbe).
Crabbe recently suffered an injury to his foot that may cause him to slip in the draft. While working out for the Brooklyn Nets, he pulled out of the work out due to a foot injury. Crabbe said it felt like his foot was “about to break”. No word as to when Crabbe will continue working out for teams. For that matter, no one is sure if Crabbe will be able to work out for teams again, prior to the draft.
No mock draft that I have seen predicts Allen Crabbe as a Hawks draft pick, but one could see why Danny Ferry may think about taking him. The Hawks want an offense centered on spacing and point guard play. For that to happen, shooters are needed. Allen Crabbe is a shooter. He has proven that throughout his NCAA career. But his propensity for losing concentration and not always playing with effort could make the Hawks leery of using a pick on Crabbe.