NBA Draft Profile: Cal Basketball's Allen Crabbe

Stephen Dunn

Most draft pundits had Allen Crabbe listed as a late first round pick. But after a strong showing at the NBA Combine, rumor has it that Crabbe has climbed as high as #15 on Chad Ford's big board.($$$) As a prelude to the upcoming draft, SBNation asked CGB to answer some questions regarding our top prospect.

1. How is this prospect perceived on campus / how will he be remembered?

Allen Crabbe will be remembered as one of the best pure shooters that we've had. As a true frosh, he was just a catch and shoot guy. He got stronger and became more of a complete player each year. By the time he was a junior, he made himself into a solid defender and a good rebounder off the wing. He's still not the best scorer off the dribble, but you could tell that he really worked on his handles and mid-range game.


2. What anecdote or story best typifies his time at your school?

At the end of his sophomore year, he went through a scoring and shooting slump. Unfortunately, the team narrowly missed out on an opportunity to win the conference championship. He didn't make any excuses, just vowed to work harder in the off-season. It came out later that he was battling injuries as well as shingles.

Perhaps his signature game was the upset win in Tucson over the ranked Arizona Wildcats. It was a hostile crowd, Arizona was keying on him, and he was seemingly over-matched going against a bunch of athletes who were rated much higher out of high school. Didn't matter. He couldn't be stopped. It was a team effort, but Crabbe really carried the scoring load while also playing a key role disrupting Zona's offense as the point man in Cal's 1-2-2 zone.

3. What parts of the draft evaluation coverage about the prospect do you think is wrong or missing?

I've heard chatter that some scouts are downgrading Crabbe for his body language. I think that's overblown. Yes, he does get down on himself when things aren't going well. And, he will lose focus defensively at times. But that doesn't make him a bad teammate or a player who isn't trying to help his team win. There's also a knock on him for being too passive or letting other teams take him out of the game. I see it more that he's an unselfish player who generally plays within himself. He's not good at taking people off the dribble or trying to create his own shot. Being "aggressive" and forcing up bad shots just to shoot it isn't his game. I can respect that he doesn't chase numbers by trying to play hero ball.

4. What will fans of the NBA love and/or hate about this prospect?

It depends entirely on who drafts him and how they intend to use him. He's at his best in a system where he can help spread the floor as a catch/shoot guy, especially if freed up with screens in a well-executed half-court set. Teams with an established low-post presence or a good drive and kick game will love his ability to light it up from deep off the bench. As a taller player, he doesn't need much space to get his shot off. The Heat or Spurs would be great fits.

If you're asking him to create for himself or for others, you'll be sorely disappointed. He's not Klay Thompson 2.0; better rebounder, but doesn't have the same handles or passing ability at this stage of his development.

Depending on match ups, he might also have trouble guarding quicker players one on one without some help. How well he learns to stay 100% focused on defense will probably determine how much playing time he earns. In shorter stints off the bench and knowing that he doesn't have to carry the scoring load, I could see him being able to expend a lot more energy defensively.


5. Anything else you want to share about him?

If you haven't heard about the infamous "shove," there was a game where Coach Mike Montgomery shoved Crabbe in the chest to try to fire him up. Crabbe got upset, walked away for a bit to calm down, then came back in the game and helped the team stage a comeback victory. Afterwards, he handled the matter with class and addressed the media with poise that was impressive for a young man. He didn't call out his coach or cause any further drama. He basically acknowledged that it happened, that he had worked it out with his coach and parents, and wanted to move on. More than the body language knock, I thought that spoke highly of Crabbe's character.

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