The Portland Trail Blazers have assigned rookie shooting guard Allen Crabbe to their NBA D-League affiliate, the Idaho Stampede. Crabbe has played in just 12 games this season, all of which were during garbage time. He’s not necessarily a bad player, he’s just the youngest and least experienced on a very deep bench. His primary contribution would be spot-up three-point shooting, which the Trail Blazers have in spades. By no fault of his own, Crabbe is redundant.
Crabbe was selected with the first pick of the second round (31st overall) in the 2013 NBA draft by the Cleveland Cavaliers, who promptly sent him Portland’s way for two future second rounders. The Trail Blazers are not discarding their investment; they are merely providing him with an opportunity to develop since he is in no such position to do so among the Blazers’ crowded backcourt. While bitter sweet, this news is more positive than negative.
It is unknown at what point Crabbe will rejoin his team in Portland. He is not the first Trail Blazer to be sent to Idaho this season. Fellow rookie CJ McCollum had a two day stint in early January to ease him back from a broken foot. Though their reasons for assignment are very different, I wouldn’t expect Crabbe to play with the Stampede much longer than McCollum did. We are probably looking at 1-2 weeks or fewer.
It would be great to see Crabbe brush up his defense in the developmental league. At 6’6,” he is the Trail Blazers’ longest guard. He might just find his niche sooner than later if he is properly trained to obstruct the passing lanes and contest outside shots, even if his role remains less than a tick above marginal. Other facets of his game (ball handling, creating space, etc) could stand to be polished as well, but the rookie is just 21 years old and all will come in time if he focuses his approach.