4/5/12

Player Spotlight: Nathan Crosswell

I remember reading about the Crosswell signing during the preseason and not being particularly enthused. I mainly remembered him from his Tigers days and wasn't sure what he'd bring to the team besides his "experience". The year before in Townsville he'd averaged just over 5pts and 2 assists.  I figured if he was just playing spot minutes to rest Chris Warren he'd probably be handy. Before long though our "veteran backup" was our starting point guard and was "teaching" our import point by playing his position.

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.

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