Brooklyn Nets Starting Center Position Still Up for Grabs

Jarrett Allen Brooklyn Nets (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Jarrett Allen Brooklyn Nets (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /

After a rough first week for Jarrett Allen and DeAndre Jordan, the Brooklyn Nets are still looking for someone to step up and fill the void at center.

Almost immediately after the news broke detailing DeAndre Jordan‘s decision to sign with the Brooklyn Nets this summer, debates pondering whether or not the younger, more explosive prospect Jarrett Allen should maintain his role as the team’s starting center despite Jordan’s arrival continuously roared on throughout the borough.

Even after completing training camp, preseason, and the regular season’s inaugural week, those debates show no signs of regression.

Unfortunately for Brooklyn, this debate continues to find its fuel not from equally impressive play, but instead equally inadequate play from both Allen and Jordan during this season’s first few games.

When Allen got the nod to assume his role as the starting center during Brooklyn’s first contest against the Minnesota Timberwolves, he provided very little support for head coach Kenny Atkinson’s decision once stepping onto the hardwood.

Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns absolutely ate up Allen while on the offensive attack, pouring in 36 points while Allen helplessly chased him up and down the court all night.

With a perfect opportunity to prove his superiority over Allen now before him, Jordan completely whiffed when coming in off the bench. After repeatedly missing countless alley-oop attempts which reminded me not of his “lob city” days with the Los Angeles Clippers, but instead of my 5’6 little brother trying to throw down on my old driveway rim, Jordan finished with an ugly -12 PER.

After checking back into the game he missed two free throws which would have pushed Brooklyn into the lead with just a few seconds left on the clock. Consequently, Brooklyn entered an overtime period and fell short by 126-127 score.

During the team’s second game, both Allen and Jordan dished up encores to their rough season debuts with unavoidably better performances against the New York Knicks.

An incredibly clutch 3-point dagger from Kyrie Irving which put the Nets ahead during the game’s closing seconds managed to blanket what was yet another game in which neither center stepped up and seized the starting role.

Allen finished with just 4 points and 11 rebounds while Jordan provided minimal help as well, adding just 7 points and 11 rebounds.

Likely in an attempt to shake things up and attack the issue from another angle, Atkinson chose to start Jordan during the team’s first road game on against the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday night.

Oddly enough, this move, which illustrated a clear intention to limit Allen’s minutes, resulted in his best game yet, as he put up an admirable 14 points and 13 rebounds. Meanwhile, Jordan tallied 6 points and grabbed 12 rebounds.

Despite a statistical bounce-back performance from Allen, Brooklyn fell short against the Grizzlies as Allen missed yet another opportunity to shut the door on the opposing team, this time while on the defensive end.

With the Nets up by a bucket and time ticking away, Allen allowed rookie point guard Ja Morant to sneak past him and sink the game-tying basket.

Swatting away Morant’s shot or at least bothering it enough to force a miss could have put an exclamation point on Allen’s big night, rather than yet another question mark and heart-breaking loss for the Nets.

No matter who finds themselves tasked with starting center duties as more games come this week, both Allen and Jordan will face tough tests against opposing big men such as Myles Turner, Clint Capela, and Andre Drummond.

For our sake and the team’s, let’s hope if not both, then at least one of them is up to the challenge.