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ESPN: Jarrett Allen could “outshine” his draft position

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NBA: Draft Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

We haven’t written much about Jarrett Allen this off-season. The Nets haven’t pushed him out after his post-draft introduction and then he didn’t play in the summer league, out with a hip flexor sustained during draft workouts.

We (and the Nets) did post his ESPN Sports Science video to keep people interested.

Now, he’s announced he’s back on the court...

...and dealing with Brooklyn life...

Not everyone had “forgotten” Allen. Mike Schmitz of Draft Express and now ESPN tweeted out some video of him this week...

And that was just a tease for Schmitz’s analysis of “Six rookies most likely to outshine their NBA draft pick.” It’s a list of rooks who because of their talent —as well as their situation— could look better this year than players taken ahead of them.

In that regard, Schmitz writes that Allen should join Dennis Smith of the Mavericks; Donovan Mitchell of the Jazz; Justin Jackson of the Kings; John Collins of the Hawks; and Kyle Kuzma of the Lakers (taken with the pick the Nets traded to seal the D’Angelo Russell trade).

Schmitz thinks the Nets situation is going to help Allen. After all, other than Timofey Mozgov, he’s the only player currently on the roster taller than 6’8”.

Here’s his full read, from ESPN Insider...

Upside: Allen is a physical specimen full of raw talent, yet it's not clear what his exact role will be in the NBA. With measurements very similar to Clint Capela, Allen could act as a similar rim-runner, finisher and shot-blocker with switch potential. To go along with his go-go-gadget 7-5 wingspan and massive hands, Allen has natural touch and impressive agility for his size.

Scouts have often questioned how much Allen actually loves basketball, which is one of the main reasons the top-10 talent fell to No. 22 overall. But Allen, who doesn't come from a strong basketball background, grew at Texas as the season progressed and showed glimpses of the exact center NBA teams are looking for in today's game.

Situation: Allen landed in a solid situation with the Nets. He'll play under development-focused head coach Kenny Atkinson without too much pressure to put up big numbers early on, Going too high in the draft could have been a burden for Allen, and Atkinson should do a great job getting the most out of the big man, who has a tendency to float in and out of games at times.

Timofey Mozgov is Brooklyn's only other true center on the roster, and with the addition of D'Angelo Russell, Allen has a lob-thrower and pocket-passer to get him easy looks. Allen, who was forced to play a healthy amount of 4 at Texas, can focus on cutting, finishing around the rim, cleaning the offensive glass and developing into a legitimate rim-protector on the defensive end. There isn't a ton of stress to win now in Brooklyn and Allen should be able to play through mistakes without losing confidence early in his career.

Key stat: 17.9 points, 11.0 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per 40 minutes in Big 12 play.

The Nets would agree that Allen should have gone higher, as high as top 10 perhaps. And they don’t seem to be bothered by the criticism that Allen may not “love” the game. Tom Crean, the former Indiana coach who served as an ESPN analyst on Draft Night, completely dissed it at the time of the pick. Crean knew Allen from trying to recruit him.

"This was a guy (Allen) that was getting up at six in the morning to go to gyms and work out about thirty minutes from his house in the summertime and the school year," Crean said., adding that "he plays like a guy that’s really developed some hunger".

Allen, of course, is very young. He didn’t turn 19 until last April, making him the sixth youngest player drafted this year. He also is the second youngest Net ever. Only Derrick Favors was younger.

He also suggests he needs to put on weight, get stronger. He will have the advantage of going up against Timofey Mozgov every day. “He will feel him,” Kenny Atkinson said of Allen’s match-up.

How much to expect? Hard to tell right now, but he could wind up spending a lot of time commuting between Barclays Center and Nassau Coliseum.