Last season, the Cleveland Cavaliers acquired young big man Jarrett Allen from the Brooklyn Nets in the multi-team megadeal that sent James Harden to the New York City area.
At the time, Allen was regarded mostly as a good rebounder and rim protector who had ample athleticism.
But this year, his first full one with the Cavs, he took things to another level.
By averaging 16.1 points on a ridiculous 67.7 percent shooting percentage, 10.8 rebounds and 1.3 blocked shots a game, Allen earned his first selection to the National Basketball Association All-Star game.
Cleveland believed so much in his potential that it gave him a five-year contract worth $100 million prior to the start of the campaign.
It is fairly safe to say that he has proven his worth to the Cavs.
But one has to wonder how much better he can become.
Jarrett Is A Force Defensively And On The Boards
This year, the Cavs greatly surpassed the expectations of most people (except for perhaps their own) by building a foundation based on one of the league’s stingiest defenses.
They ranked seventh in defensive efficiency and fifth in points allowed, which allowed them to get to the brink of their first playoff appearance since LeBron James‘ last season with them.
With the help of Allen’s interior presence, plus a stellar rookie named Evan Mobley, Cleveland allowed teams to make 51.4 percent of their 2-point shots, which was the fifth-lowest such percentage allowed in the NBA.
The impact the Texas native had on the Cavs’ defense this season is hard to ignore.
Jarrett Allen anchored the 2nd Best Defense in the NBA when healthy and when he got injured it became the Worst Defense in the NBA.
This shouldn’t be a controversial take https://t.co/d6umKXvlta
— 🧣 (@PrecisionSTFU) April 28, 2022
He missed 26 games in the regular season with an injured finger, and although he returned in time for the team’s play-in tournament game versus the Atlanta Hawks, it could’ve used more from him, as he had just 11 points and three rebounds in 35 minutes.
What Allen Can Improve On
Perhaps it’s not fair to ask Allen to develop an advanced low post game on offense, as he’s never been that type of player.
But one thing he could do, at least conceivably, is develop a dependable jump shot.
Doing so would not only increase his overall value to the Cavs, but it would also bring the man who is guarding him away from the basket, which would open up driving lanes for Darius Garland while giving Mobley more room to operate in the paint.
If Allen ever added a jumper, it could also make it easier for Mobley to grab offensive rebounds and give Cleveland more second shot opportunities, which would also allow them to control the tempo, which seems to be a key part of their offensive strategy.
So far in his career, he has never attempted more than 0.6 3-point attempts a game in a season, and his high-water mark in 3-point marksmanship has been31.6 percent on 0.3 attempts per game in 2021.
Although he rarely shoots outside shots, his form on them seems sound, which makes it seem that adding an outside shot to his toolkit is realistic.
Jarrett Allen hits his first 3-pointer in the NBA pic.twitter.com/RClbSmhhMX
— Anthony Puccio (@APOOCH) December 5, 2017
At age 24, Allen still seems to have plenty of room for improvement.
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