1. Jarrett Allen still a work in progress
Second-year center Jarrett Allen had a strong start to the game on Wednesday, recording a pair of blocked shots within the first 2:13 of the game, one on Lance Thomas and the other erasing a drive by Trey Burke.
Both blocks came in help situations, which is a great sign for the Nets. Their defensive pressure on the perimeter was impressive and part of that comes from knowing you’ve got someone at the rim who can erase some of your mistakes.
But Allen’s night seemed to go downhill rapidly after he missed on a dunk attempt off an alley-oop. His offensive game got tentative for the rest of the half as he seemed to be trying to wish the ball into the hoop.
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He misfired on a putback layup and a short hook shot that he appeared to release as he was leaning away from the bucket.
Allen finished the game with seven rebounds (four on the offensive end) to go with four points on 2-of-6 shooting. He also went 0-for-2 at the foul line.
Allen got demolished by Enes Kanter on the defensive glass … a lot. Kanter finished with 20 rebounds, seven on the offensive end, by simply going through or around Allen to get to missed shots.
Part of the problem Allen had was playing against Kanter, who is one of the top offensive rebounders in the NBA. But fundamentals also hurt Allen, who lost the advantage of having the inside position on most of those rebound opportunities with weak box outs.
Too many times, Allen simply turned toward the backboard while standing nearly straight up and down. With his legs not in a position to provide a strong enough base to fend off Kanter, the Knicks center was able to bully his way to the ball.
Allen is still thin, even though he’s noticeably bigger in the upper body than he was a season ago. He’s also only 20 years old, so he has time to mature and fill out.
But in the absence of the core strength to brute force his way to the basketball, Allen will have to be more fundamentally sound to provide himself an opportunity to at least hold his own down there.