Jae Crowder—Making a strong first impression for the Jazz

by Matt Payne

Last Thursday, the Jazz made one of the most high-profile moves of the season when they traded away Rodney Hood and Joe Johnson in return for versatile forward Jae Crowder.

Last night, Crowder made his Jazz debut, finishing with 15 points, five rebounds, three assists and a steal in 29 minutes during Utah's 115-96 victory in Portland. After the game, Crowder couldn't hide his excitement about getting a fresh start in Utah.

"Unbelievable," he said. "These guys, they've welcomed me since I walked in the door, and playing on the court with them was very, very, very fun. I got back to having fun playing basketball. What a great group of guys. It couldn't have worked out any better."

Jazz head coach Quin Snyder also had good things to say about Crowder's first few days with the Jazz.

"I saw a guy who's part of the team," Snyder said. "He's come in and thrown himself into the group. When you're a smart player who has feel, it's easy to blend in with a group of guys that play unselfishly, and that's what he did."

The Jazz have won nine straight games, and they'll be relying on Crowder's strong all-around play as they make a push to get into the playoffs for the second straight season.

Here's a quick snapshot of Crowder's career so far ...

  • Age: 27
  • College: Marquette, where he was named Big East Player of the Year as a senior (2012)
  • Drafted: Selected by the Mavericks with the No. 34 overall pick of the 2012 NBA Draft
  • Former Teams: Mavericks (2012–14), Celtics (2014–2017) and Cavaliers (2017–18)
  • Career Year: Averaged a career-high 14.2 points per game for the Celtics in 2015-16
  • Contract: Signed for two more years (through the 2019-20 season)
  • Notable: Scored a career-high 27 points on February 22, 2016 vs. the Timberwolves ... Has made five 3-pointers in a game three separate times ... Has averaged 11.7 points, 4.7 rebounds, 1.2 steals and 1.6 3-pointers in 233 career starts ... His father, Corey, played for the Jazz during the 1991-92 season. ... Was born in Georgia and has seven siblings.

Crowder and the Jazz are back home tonight to take on the Spurs, and then they'll wrap up their pre All-Star schedule when they host the Suns on Wednesday night. Click here to get your tickets to both of those great games.