Player Spotlight: Nathan Crosswell
I've been saying since the start of the year that the 36ers were always going to be playing behind the 8 ball with a Crosswell/Warren backcourt and this proved to be the case. This is not a criticism of Crosswell's play but by the team accepting this backcourt it was admitting....
-The sub 6ft import point guard we brought in is really an off guard in a point guard's body
-We needed to make out veteran backup a starter and for him to lead the team
This completely threw out team balance and this was magnified when he went down with a season ending achilles injury in December. Crosswell played admirably in his 9 games with Adelaide, including 9 assists in the win over Melbourne and 15 & 5 against Perth in Perth. In the one game he played over 30 minutes though (v Sydney at home) he struggled mightily in the last quarter and finished with 6 turnovers. People pointed to his injury as a reason for the team's slide but I'd counter by saying we never should have been relying so heavily on him in the first place.
Crosswell is signed on for 2012-2013 and if he's given a backup role playing 15-18 minutes he should thrive. He provides solid oncourt leadership, is unselfish and reads the game very well, far smarter than I originally realised. He picks his spots to score and constantly looks to get others involved. It was no coincidence, as pointed out in this article , that his team mates %'s and output starting dropping once he was no longer on the court. Warren in particular struggled having to shift back to the point.
If Adelaide gets a strong import point for next season and Crosswell is allowed to move back to a backup role I've no doubt the 36ers will be well on track to a return to the playoffs.
*For interests sake, have a look at this story which I think proves very prophetic. I don't think Clarke got the team balance right all year , even with allowances for the injuries and only Diamon panned out although was not used for maximum benefit.