Last month it was announced by the Trail Blazers’ front office that after this season they will no longer be affiliated with the Idaho Stampede. In fact, they went as far as to say that they will not have a single team affiliate and plan to have a joint relationship with multiple NBA teams involved.
Portland is simply not making good use of their single team affiliate over in Boise, Idaho, these days. My personal opinion is that C.J. McCollum and Allen Crabbe should be down in the D-League developing their games, but the front office (specifically Neil Olshey) feels differently.
The big club as it were, has been using their own player personnel group to harvest their young talent this season and in seasons past as well. So, in short they just saw no long-term benefit to holding a relationship with the Stampede as their single team affiliate.
With that said, it was announced Monday that Portland has assigned rookie (and second round pick) Allen Crabbe to the Idaho Stampede. Crabbe hasn’t been in Terry Stotts’ rotation at all this season and his only playing time has come in mop up roles. Crabbe has the skill set the Blazers are looking for, however he just can’t crack the guard-heavy rotation ahead of him with Lillard, Wes, Mo and to a lesser extent McCollum and Barton.
The soon-to-be 22-year-old (April 4th) Crabbe has only played in 12 games this season averaging a meager 4.8 minutes played. It’s logistics; there just isn’t room for playing time for a young rookie on this overachieving Blazers’ team right now. A D-League assignment could be just what Crabbe needs to stay sharp and keep his confidence high. There’s only so much you can work on in practice; and game speed simply cannot be simulated in an NBA practice, so these assignments can be meaningful long-term — even if only for Allen personally.
My concern is, how much playing time will Crabbe actually see? The Idaho Stampede are currently 21-18 (just outside the playoffs) but have one of the best back courts in the entire league. Kevin Murphy is scorching at 26.3 points and 5.7 rebounds per night while shooting 50.7 percent from the floor. Dee Bost (a Blazer preseason camp invite) has been one of the best all-around talents in the D-League this season posting averages of 16.3 points, 6.3 rebounds and a league-leading 8.8 assists per night.
On top of that the Stampede just acquired Scott Machado and Vander Blue at the D-League’s trade deadline! They have a slew of guards and combo guards to say the least. Will they still be as accommodating to the big club knowing that their affiliation is no more at the end of this year? They have a spoken agreement to do so, but we shall see.
I hope Crabbe sees at least 25 minutes a night and is able to get some great live-game action under his belt. You never know when an injury could occur in the NBA and a deep bench is not something to take for granted.
If you want to know more about Crabbe you can check out my article on him from earlier this season, here.