Brooklyn Nets: Allen’s worth can’t be measured solely by scoring output

Brooklyn Nets Jarrett Allen (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Brooklyn Nets Jarrett Allen (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /

Jarrett Allen of the Brooklyn Nets is entering his third season in the NBA; his upside and value have been shown on this roster, despite a lack of scoring versatility.

Jarrett Allen doesn’t have a bevy of post moves in the low block, he’s not one to fade off of a pick and roll and knock down an 18-footer, he probably won’t beat you off the dribble, but all of that is okay—it’s not exactly required of him within the Brooklyn Nets’ offense.

Chances are he doesn’t average more than 12-15 points per game next season—if he does, well, that’s just an added bonus—but his game can’t be measured exclusively by scoring output.

For one, he’s emerging as a reliable defensive anchor for Kenny Atkinson and company, he’s incredibly active on that side of the basketball, as illustrated by his block and steals totals from a season ago.

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We know his value as a rim protector, his 7’5 wingspan combined with his near-freakish athleticism enable him to alter shots with relative ease. He’s become known in the NBA world for meeting some of the league’s elite at the rim, where he has often come out the victor.

Last season he placed 9th in the NBA in block percentage (4.5 percent), and 14th in the league in overall Defensive Box Plus/Minus (3.2); it’s not just inside the paint either, he’s proven capable when put on an island against perimeter players.

Allen ranked in the 81st percentile last season in the 1.1 possessions per game he was thrown into defensive isolation, limiting the opposition to 0.74 points per possession and 33 percent shooting in those instances.

He’s not a polished defensive presence quite yet, he still needs to get stronger to fend off the more physical players in the block, but he’s instinctive, has good timing, just a natural feel manning the frontcourt.

His rebounding abilities have drastically improved between rookie and sophomore campaigns as well. Allen nearly doubled his defensive rebounds totals from a season ago (3.4-6.0), and he’s been productive in crashing the offensive glass, securing 2.4 ORBS last year while also back-tapping a variety of rebounds back to the perimeter.

Here’s a clear illustration of his increased activity on the glass, which can be attributed to Ed Davis‘ mentorship on the art of rebounding (Ed had a whomping 17.3 rebounds per 36 minutes last year).

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His offensive makeup has often been compared to the likes of Clint Capela, and Rudy Gobert, due to the fact he’s an athletic rim-runner that is excellent as a roll man in pick and roll sets. Though true, and can be backed by his 1.17 points per possession as the roll man, his ability as a passer at this stage in his career is much more advanced than the two aforementioned players.

Last season, at the youthful age of 20-years-old, Allen doubled his assist numbers from his rookie campaign, registering 1.4 assists per game. Though that’s not exactly an otherworldly stat that makes him shine distinctively, it is also telling; the prospect of a well-rounded offensive game is there.

Look at this highlight clip from a regular-season game against the Pelicans from this past season. Zone in at the (2:43) mark, in an out of bounds play orchestrated by coach Atkinson, Allen comes up to the top of the perimeter and hits a cutting Caris LeVert in stride with a perfectly executed bounce pass.

Though a small sample size, it demonstrates that Atkinson can draw up plays with Allen playing the part of a passing big, and it can work. If he can continue to grow as a passer out of the low block, or find teammates cutting when he has the ball at the top of the perimeter, it will prove an interesting dynamic for this offense.

Even though this article is focusing primarily on attributes other than scoring ability, it should be noted that he made some improvements in that regard. He’s yet to hone a back to the basket game, whenever he posts up and tries to take someone in the block, it looks, well, awkward.

However, and as stated before, he’s excellent as the roll man in pick and rolls, and his ability to finish around the rim is improving. He’s got a decent hook shot but at this point in his career, most of his points can be attributed to dunks/layups.

However, given his free throw percentage for his career (73.2 percent), and his three-point attempts from a season ago (45), there’s hope that he can establish a perimeter shot. His bread and butter in this stage of his career is the pick and roll, but if here to be able to knock down face-up jump shots, this halfcourt offense would be scary.

The form looks acceptable, it’s just the results aren’t always in favor; in fact, they’re usually quite the opposite. Allen is 11 for 60 in three-point field goals in his young career, but hey, Brook Lopez didn’t make a three-point shot until his 7th season in the league—Allen’s ahead of the curve.

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Allen does plenty of good on the basketball court, his worth on this team can’t solely be measured by his scoring output. If his career trajectory has served as an indicator thus far, year 3 could be a big one for the big man.