DALLAS -- Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said forward Jae Crowder is on track to be as effective a clamp-down defender as long-time veteran forward Shawn Marion.
Carlisle has had Crowder defend point guards, shooting guards, small forwards and power forwards this season during long stretches with some nominal success.
"We’ve put him on point guards in a lot of games recently,'' Carlisle said after Thursday's practice. "We put him on (Golden State guard Stephen) Curry, we put him on (Memphis point guard Jerryd) Bayless (Wednesday) night.
"He would have guarded (Memphis point guard Mike) Conley (on Wednesday) had Conley played. That dimension is big for us.''
So big for obvious reasons.
Carlisle said: "Having two guys, him and Marion that can do it, it’s an important thing for us when we don’t have a team full of defenders.''
Marion has long been able to defend every position on the court except the center spot. Carlisle believes Crowder also has potential to become that same type of defensive stopper.
"At times he can do it, at times he has done it,'' Carlisle said. "At the end of the New Orleans game we had him on (Jrue) Holiday and he made it tough on Holiday.
"But he’s a second-year player. Marion is in his 15th or 16th, so (Crowder is) going to learn a lot more, he’s going to have a lot more tough matchups and his willingness to take the challenge is going to determine how good he can become, but we think he has terrific upside.''
-- Dwain Price
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