One of Sean Marks’ first big aggressive moves as the Brooklyn Nets general manager was to sign restricted free agent guard Allen Crabbe to an offer sheet in the summer of 2016. It turned out to be a strong sign of the type of roster Marks was trying to build and the acquisitions he would go on to make: a young player with upside, a good-sized, versatile wing player with a big-time stroke from 3-point range.
A year after the Portland Trail Blazers matched that offer sheet, Marks has his man. Acquired on Tuesday in exchange for forward Andrew Nicholson, Crabbe joined the GM at HSS Training Center on Thursday morning for his introduction as the newest Net.
“It’s a new opportunity for me,” said Crabbe. “A new chapter in my life and career. I’m excited. Being with this organization, having conversations with Sean and coach (Kenny) Atkinson, the direction that they’re headed in, I’m excited to be a part of it.”
Crabbe arrives in Brooklyn for his fifth NBA season. Drafted at the top of the second round in 2013, he spent his first four seasons in Portland, averaging 8.3 points. The 6-foot-6 swingman made a big jump in 2015-16 after playing a small role his first two seasons. Crabbe’s 10.3 points per game and 39-percent shooting from 3-point range in his third season spurred Brooklyn’s contract offer last summer. He followed up this past season with 10.7 points per game on 44-percent 3-point shooting in a career-high 28.5 minutes per game.
“I think his role will expand here,” said Marks. “I’m excited to see him with our coaching staff and with Kenny and the development pieces here. That was one of the reasons when we talked about him last year and we sat with him, we think we can up your game, we think you can take it to another level. Let’s not just be a shooter. And he’s excited about that. I know he’s got a little chip on his shoulder and he wants to take his game to another level.”
Crabbe joins a roster with a much different look than the one he first committed to last summer. Additional trades over the past month brought in D’Angelo Russell, Timofey Mozgov and DeMarre Carroll. It’s possible Crabbe will be one of four new starters on opening night in October.
“They did a great job this offseason with the new players they brought in, new additions to the team,” said Crabbe. “You just hear a lot of positive things about this organization; the coaches, where they’re headed to, putting the right guys together that all have the same mindset of turning this organization around, getting to the playoffs and being successful.”
What hasn’t changed in the last 12 months is Marks’ confidence that Crabbe is a player that has still more to offer, and that the Nets can build and grow with.
“We like the intangibles he has,” said Marks. “He comes with length. He’s a versatile player. I think he can develop his game as a pick and roll player. But I think also he’ll fit in nice with the guys we currently have on the roster. It’ll open the floor up. Hopefully it’ll be a fun brand of basketball to watch. The fans will be excited about it. It gives us another weapon.”
“You just hear a lot of positive things about this organization; the coaches, where they’re headed to, putting the right guys together that all have the same mindset of turning this organization around, getting to the playoffs and being successful.”
Last summer, Crabbe signed up for a bit of the unknown. Marks’ rebuilding project was in its earliest stages. Atkinson had yet to coach his first game. What’s become clear is Brooklyn’s establishment of the style it would like to play, and it makes Crabbe look like a definitive fit. He brings the NBA’s second-highest 3-point shooting percentage from 2016-17 to a team that was fifth in the league in 3-point attempts last season.
“I know they get the three-ball up a lot, so that’s something I’m really excited about,” said Crabbe. “Young team, so probably most likely going to get up and down the floor. I’m excited. Can’t wait to see how everything unfolds here.”