Exploring whether Jarrett Allen play better without Kyrie Irving
Indian author Abhishek Ratna once said, “the work environment can bring out the ‘best’ or the ‘worst’ in you.” Ratna’s quote represents what Brooklyn Nets center Jarrett Allen has experienced throughout the first 41 games of this season as his performance fluctuates depending on whether Kyrie Irving is on the court.
Allen’s statistical success on the offensive side of the floor has been predicted by how many touches in the paint he receives per game . For example, Allen received 4.7 passes per game from Spencer Dinwiddie, who was the primary ball-handler during his rookie season as 70.7 touches per game.
Spencer accounted for 25 percent of his received as Allen received 18.8 passes per game. The 18.8 passes helped him get 6.4 touches in the paint per game. The 6.4 paint touches allowed Allen to create 5.4 points per game for the team. The 5.4 points accounted for 65.8 percent of his scoring output as he averaged 8.2 points per game.
Jarrett Allen saw a slight increase in his offensive production during the 2018-19 season as he received 8.6 passes per game from D’Angelo Russell. D’Angelo was the primary ball-handler last season as he averaged 78.3 touches per game.
Russell accounted for 33.6 percent of his received as Allen received 25.6 passes per game. The 25.6 passes helped him get 8.1 touches in the paint per game. The 8.1 paint touches allowed Allen to create 7.6 points per game for the team. The 7.6 points accounted for 69.7 percent of his scoring output as he averaged 10.9 points per game.
Unfortunately, it has been a tale of two seasons for Jarrett Allen this year, as he has a lesser offensive role with Kyrie Irving on the court. For example, Allen received 7.8 passes per game from Kyrie Irving, who was the primary ball-handler during the first 11 games as 82.1 touches per game.
Kyrie accounted for 41.5 percent of his received as Allen received 18.8 passes per game. The 18.8 passes helped him get 8 touches in the paint per game. The 8 paint touches allowed Allen to create 6.9 points per game for the team. The 6.9 points accounted for 74.2 percent of his scoring output as he averaged 9.3 points per game.
However, Allen took on a more prominent offensive role after the 11th game as the team announced that Kyrie was dealing with a right shoulder impingement. The injury would keep him out for two months propelling Spencer to primary ball-handler as he averaged 81.4 touches per game.
Spencer would pass the ball to Allen 9.7 times a game over the next 22 outings. Spencer accounted for 42.2 percent of his received as Allen received 23 passes per game. The 23 passes helped him get 9.5 touches in the paint per game. The 9.5 paint touches allowed Allen to create 9.7 points per game for the team. The 9.7 points accounted for 77.6 percent of his scoring output as he averaged 12.5 points per game.
Jarrett’s statistics declined upon Irving’s return from injury as he has received an average of 7.3 passes from Kyrie in 4 games since coming back. Kyrie accounted for 29.8 percent of his received as Allen received 24.5 passes per game.
The 24.5 passes helped him get 5.8 touches in the paint per game. The 5.8 paint touches allowed Allen to create 5.8 points per game for the team. The 5.8 points accounted for 58 percent of his scoring output as he averaged 10 points per game.
The fluctuation in statistics is related to Kyrie being incentivized to pass the ball to the perimeter because of defensive coverage. A prime example of this was found midway through the first quarter of a home game against the Milwaukee Bucks when Allen sets a screen for Kyrie.
Kyrie realizes that his defender (Eric Bledsoe) fought over the pick. Consequently, Kyrie decided to attack the basket as there was no defender on the other side of the screen. As he began to attack, Kyrie sees that he is surrounded by 3 Milwaukee Bucks players forcing him to stop in his tracks and pass the ball to Taurean Prince.
On the other hand, Spencer tries to force the ball to Allen more frequently regardless of defensive coverage. A prime example of this can be found early in the first quarter of a road game against the Cleveland Cavaliers , Spencer had the ball on the right-wing, and Jarrett Allen came to set a screen for him.
Spencer would end up rejecting the pick as he thought Cedi Osman was a favorable matchup. Upon rejecting the screen, Spencer tried to attack the basket but could not any separation from Cedi Osman. Consequently, he attempted an ill advised lob in the direction of Jarrett Allen, which ended up being deflected by Cedi Osman.
In conclusion, Jarrett Allen’s statistics are down with Kyrie on the floor because Irving prioritizes making what he believes is the right play over feeding Allen. Unfortunately, the unintended consequences of this is that Allen will continue to underperform in the eyes of many observers.
The perception that he is underperforming will increase the likelihood that his name comes up in trade rumors. This is because observers believe that he is expendable after Kyrie didn’t include him as a core player for the franchise during a post game scrum.