9. Jae Crowder
Jae Crowder found himself in an interesting situation at the start of the 2019-20 season, in comparison to how his NBA career has panned out. Crowder has been a part of legitimate contending teams of late, including the Cleveland Cavaliers of 2017-18, who were coming off of an NBA Finals appearance the year before, and was dealt to the Utah Jazz, who made the postseason in each of his two seasons there.
Crowder was dealt to the Memphis Grizzlies, in a deal that sent Mike Conley to the Jazz, putting Crowder on a team that hadn’t made the playoffs since 2016-17. Crowder averaged 9.9 points and 6.2 rebounds for the young Grizzlies, but was dealt at the trade deadline to the Miami Heat, along with 2015 NBA Finals MVP Andre Iguodala.
Crowder’s play was immensely better in Miami, as he averaged 11.9 points and 5.4 rebounds, while making 44.5 percent of his triples, which was a career-high. Crowder also posted a true shooting percentage of 66.9 percent in Miami, which was easily a career-high for the Swiss army knife.
Crowder’s play earned him a permanent spot in Miami’s starting lineup during the postseason, and rightfully so, as he averaged 12 points and 5.6 rebounds per contest during the 2020 NBA playoffs. Crowder’s 6-foot-6 frame and 235-pound build has made him a stellar defender, and his defense on Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo during the Eastern Conference Semifinals was a great example.
Crowder was inked to a five-year deal worth $35 million in 2015, putting his annual salary at around $7 million per season, which is within the range of what the Houston Rockets are expected to spend.
Next: No. 8