NBA.com During his first full season with the Utah Jazz, Jae Crowder came to realize just how much impact he had in the locker room. When he spoke, his teammates listened.
“I didn’t know the guys listened to me and watched me as much as they do,” Crowder said. “It was eye-opening for me to see how many guys respect what I bring to the team, how I approach practice, how I approach the games, how I take care of my body off the court Jae Crowder. It solidified for me that I have a major role on this team. I don’t take it for granted.”
As big of a role as Crowder had last season — providing toughness and locker room leadership while averaging nearly 12 points per game as the Jazz’s sixth man — the 28-year-old forward is looking to have an even bigger impact next season. The 6-foot-6 Crowder plans to spend the summer adding to his offensive game.
“I just want to get better with the ball in my hands,” he said. “I can be another playmaker for our team. … I want to be comfortable with the ball in my hands and earn the trust from [head coach Quin Snyder] to call plays for me and to make plays for my teammates. I have the style of play to do that, the type of body to do that, the skill set to do that in this league at a high level.”
Crowder has also said he wants to help the Jazz improve by recruiting free agents to Utah.
“I have a lot of friends in the NBA,” he said. “I’ll recruit. I’m going to do my job with that and hopefully, try and bring some top-level players here to help us win. I’m Jae Crowder definitely going to do my part and that’s talking to guys and telling them what the organization and what the team is all about.”
His pitch to other players?
“You want to win? We’ve got guys who can win. We’ve got a group of guys who really gets along with one another and buys into the team. This locker room is very special. No one is worried about touches. No one is worried about scoring and getting shots. We just play. We play free and we play together.”
And next season, Crowder predicts the Jazz will be playing longer than before.
“I feel like we will get better and we will go further,” he said. “I’m preparing myself as much as possible, mentally and physically, for a long season.”