Jarrett Allen gets another big test
Jarrett Allen struggled to control the defensive glass as a rookie last season and against the New York Knicks on Wednesday, Enes Kanter absolutely dominated Allen.
Kanter finished with 20 rebounds — seven on the offensive glass — and led the Knicks with 22 points.
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Allen did have seven rebounds, but four of those were on the offensive end, and seemed almost unable to prevent Kanter from grabbing rebounds.
This is not a new problem for Brooklyn, who gave up the top two individual rebounding games in the NBA in 2017-18, a 30-rebound game by Dwight Howard of the Charlotte Hornets on March 21 and 27 rebounds by Andre Drummond of the Detroit Pistons on Feb. 7.
After facing Kanter, who finished fourth in the NBA last season in offensive rebounds, the road doesn’t get easier for Allen. Drummond was the NBA’s top offensive rebounder last season … and its best defensive rebounder … and led the league in total rebounds and rebounds per game.
So … yeah.
Coach Kenny Atkinson was hard on his 20-year-old center after the loss Wednesday, telling Brian Lewis of the New York Post:
"“When there’s an elite rebounder on the floor, we can’t expect to do it 1-on-1. We need two guys to hit a guy like Kanter, maybe three. [But] Jarrett can be more aggressive and do a better job, there’s no doubt about it. There are guys like that in the league that he needs help [against].”"
The Nets will have more options among their big men Monday night with Kenneth Faried cleared to play. Faried and Alan Williams both sat out against the Knicks with ankle injuries, which left Brooklyn with only two bigs, Allen and backup Ed Davis.
Allen will get a trial by fire throughout the preseason and to start the regular season. After facing Kanter and Drummond, the Nets have Jonas Valanciunas of the Toronto Raptors — who averaged 20 points and 10 rebounds against Brooklyn last season — before facing Kanter again.
To open the regular season, the Nets play the Pistons and Drummond in their opener before going home to face Kanter and the Knicks.
Atkinson still believes in his young center.
"“He’s our starter. I don’t see that changing. I’m pretty sure of that. [But] yes, he’s got to learn to play against those guys and he’s got to do better against those guys. I don’t want to say right away we’re going to make matchup adjustments; it’s the first preseason game. “I think he has gotten stronger. We need to see more evidence that he can play those guys.”"
One look the Nets had discussed trying is to pair Allen and Davis, something they couldn’t do against New York, but may be able to experiment with against the Pistons on Monday.