I wrote briefly on Portland Trail Blazers rookie guard Allen Crabbe last week, and the door that opened for Crabbe in the wake of CJ McCollum's foot injury is a good opportunity to look back on what's been a fairly wild few months for him.
Crabbe is not quite as flat in affect as Damian Lillard but he does possess an unusually strong command of his emotions when dealing with the media. He was clearly surprised that he landed in Portland -- because he hadn't worked out for the team -- but he conveyed that feeling shortly after the draft without any negativity. He had a quiet Summer League and shot just 30 percent, but he never broke composure in his limited dealings with the media down in Las Vegas (that I saw).
Now in a position to play some preseason minutes and compete for a fringe role in the rotation, Crabbe has said all the right things, expressing empathy for McCollum while also realizing he has his own job to do. His play has drawn praise from both GM Neil Olshey and coach Terry Stotts, and all of that puts him right on track for where a second-round pick should be in two weeks before opening night.
Mike Acker of the Willamette Week has a nice, feature-length look at Crabbe, which includes this surprising detail.
Spotted leaving the Blazers' suburban practice facility on foot following the team's first day of training camp, Crabbe said he's currently living with a friend and the two of them are sharing a car.
Without a lottery pick payday, Crabbe has to pay a little more attention to where his money goes.
"Financially, everything is stable. You just got to be smart the first couple of months," Crabbe said. "I've got to prioritize, get things that I really need. A car can wait."
The "walking around the practice facility" thing does happen, but usually it's with 10-day contract guys or pre-draft workout/Summer League invites who are staying at a nearby hotel, not a guy with two years of guaranteed money coming his way. Hopefully, Crabbe has made other vehicular arrangements between the first day of camp and today.
Every year we hear about rookies trying to stay disciplined with their spending, but Crabbe was/is exercising real discipline, even if he's simply waiting on a first paycheck that traditionally doesn't come until mid-November. Crabbe stands to earn $825,000 this season and he, like anyone else in his age bracket, could rent a Toyota Corolla for an entire month from Hertz.com for $865 a month. That's without any discount codes, hook-ups, etc.
Bottom line: If you see a 6-foot-6 guy wearing a pink backpack strolling through Tualatin, please offer to give him a ride. Maybe the Blazers can set up a "Rip City United" season ticket holder car pool service: If you purchase a pair of 200-level tickets you get to drive Crabbe to practice on Tuesdays and Thursdays, but if you splurge on the 100-level seats you get Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
-- Ben Golliver | firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter