Jae Crowder

[Coach Rick] Carlisle said Crowder is in a tough spot because his offense suffers while he consistently tries to slow down scoring machines such as Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James.

“But that’s one of the reasons we like him,” Carlisle said. “He’s one of the best defenders we’ve got.

“He can guard guys that run off screens, he’s a good one-on-one defender, he’s got good size, he can guard different positions, he’s played some [power forward], he’s played some [shooting guard], and he mostly plays [small forward],” Carlisle said. “The flexibility that he gives us is a big plus.”

It’s a big plus that Crowder takes seriously. That’s why he took the initiative over the off-season to try to improve his defensive skills.

Reported by Dwain Price of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram