Second-year man Jarrett Allen enters the season as the clear starter at center after he took over the starting role for the final 31 games last season.
Allen, the 22nd overall pick out of Texas by the Nets in 2017, proved to be one of the surprises of the 2017 NBA Draft, leading all rookies last season in blocked shots while averaging 8.2 points and 5.4 rebounds in just 20 minutes per game.
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Allen has spent the offseason bulking up and reported to Media Day looking significantly more defined than a season ago and he’s also added a corner 3 to his offensive repertoire, which essentially was dunks last season.
If Allen can step up his rebounding and provide the rim protection, he will have a legitimate backup this season in free agent acquisition Ed Davis.
Davis, an eight-year veteran, came to Brooklyn on the cheap, taking the $4.4 million biannual exception the Nets had available.
He is a significant step up from last season’s backup situation. Timofey Mozgov didn’t play after the All-Star break, Tyler Zeller was traded and Jahlil Okafor was a bust after being acquired from the Philadelphia 76ers in December.
While those are the only two legitimate centers on the regular roster, the Nets do have rugged Alan Williams on a two-way contract and also added Kenneth Faried, a traditional 4 who has spent some time at the 5 during his seven years with the Denver Nuggets.
In a recent ranking of the 30 projected starting centers in the NBA by Gerald Bourguet of HoopsHabit, Allen checked in at No. 21.
While that might feel low to a Nets fan, it’s probably a fair assessment, with the caveat that he’s got the potential to exceed that if his rebounding and floor-stretching capabilities progress as hoped.
Projection: Allen gets the starter’s minutes and will likely get 25-28 minutes a night. Davis will fill in for 18-20, with Faried and potentially Rodions Kurucs — who has gotten some work at the 5 during training camp — getting looks.