NBA Summer League: Allen Crabbe out to prove himself on defense

Andrew Goudelock had been killing it in his first two games for the Chicago Bulls at the 2013 NBA Summer League, as the so-called “Mini-Mamba” had dropped a combined 57 points in that span. But things were considerably tougher for the College of Charleston alum against the Portland Trail Blazers: the Game 3 and 4 starter for the Los Angeles Lakers in their 2013 playoff series against the Spurs was held to just six tallies through regulation. And in key stretches during the fourth quarter, there was a familiar face manning Goudelock -- the 2012-13 Pac-12 Player of the Year, Allen Crabbe. With the Bulls up 66-62 and four minutes remaining in regulation, the former Golden Bear picked Goudelock’s pocket from behind, leading to a Portland bucket on the other end.

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Goudelock ended up scoring five points in overtime to lead the Bulls to an 80-78 victory, but Crabbe believed he had made his point. “A lot of people probably questioned my defense in college, but here, I feel like I’ve been able to prove to people that I’m a worthy defender,” Crabbe said after the game. It hasn’t been all fine and dandy for Crabbe, however. The perimeter sniper has struggled from the field in Summer League, connecting on just 30 percent of his field goal attempts. The Los Angeles product has had some good looks from the field, but that sweet shot has yet to drop consistently.

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“It’s been a learning experience. I just gotta transition from college to the pros,” he said. “I just gotta find my spots, man. It has been a big learning experience for me, so I’m just trying to learn as the Summer League goes on.” What will help Crabbe out is his collegiate background. Crabbe learned a lot about the NBA game under the tutelage of Mike Montgomery, playing for three years for the former Golden State Warriors head coach (all three of Cal’s Pac-10/12 Players of the Year under Montgomery are playing in Summer League -- Jerome Randle with the Clippers and Jorge Gutierrez with the Kings). “Coach Montgomery used to be a coach in the NBA and obviously a lot of these sets familiarized me with a lot of the sets we ran at Cal,” he said. “So I felt like that adjustment wouldn’t be too hard.”

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Crabbe just missed out on being a first-round selection, instead getting drafted 31st overall by the Cleveland Cavaliers before being shipped out to Portland on draft night. As such, he missed out on a guaranteed contract by the skin of his teeth. “Just my effort,” Crabbe said when asked what he needs to do to show Portland he belongs. “I gotta go out here and play hard every night, and just show the GMs and the coaches that I’m worthy of a spot on the team.”

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