Jarrett Allen’s first preseason game brought back some ugly flashbacks of opposing bigs dominating Brooklyn’s 20-year-old center. He allowed Enes Kanter to put up 22 points and 20 rebounds in a disappointing loss to the Knicks.
In the following two preseason games, however, Allen’s presence was felt. Some questioned how he would rebound (pun unintended) against the likes of Andre Drummond and Blake Griffin in Game 2. So, he put up 17 points, nine rebounds and four blocked shots in an overtime victory over the Pistons.
Although it’s preseason, we caught a glimpse of what Allen’s potential is when he’s feeling good and plays more than 30 minutes in a game. He’s noticeably stronger and more aware covering the pick-and-roll. Plus, the little things.
Like Wednesday night. Guarded by the stronger Serge Ibaka, Allen posted up and lowered his shoulder, pushed him back and finished easily with the left hand. Strength, footwork, awareness, etc.
And the intangibles? He doesn’t back down from anybody. Brooklyn’s coaching staff wants him to get mad. Well, he’s gotten mad over the past two games starting with this one.
The best part about this? Most players would have gotten right out of the way of that dunk, especially in a preseason game. Allen isn’t worried about being on the wrong side of highlights. He’s going to give everything he’s got, and Kenny Atkinson has to love it.
There were a few more in Game 3 as well.
Then, the Nets were up against a Raptors team with a front-line featuring Ibaka and OG Anunoby. Another physical matchup. Despite a blowout loss in what Atkinson called a “disappointment,” Allen thrived yet again, in the box score and in the highlight reel.
Here are just a few…
Here you’ll see his 7’6” wingspan come into the picture. His hand is at the top of the white box!
He finished the night with 24 points in 25 minutes on 8-of-12 shooting and 7-of-8 from the free throw line – an underappreciated part of his game for a big who struggled from the charity stripe in college, barely hitting 50 percent of his attempts. He also knocked down a smooth 3-pointer from the corner.
And smartly, he’s realizing how he can use that newfound prowess at the three-point line...
Along with his usual exploits around the rim 7-foot + 20-year-old Jarrett Allen (24 PTS, 8/12 FG's, 7/8 FT's in 26 mins) continued to show his progression facing the rim last night with a corner 3-ball + pump-fake, drive + finish last night pic.twitter.com/STrnxq7IyP— DraftExpressContent (@DXContent) October 11, 2018
There were a few concerns. After grabbing seven boards vs Detroit, he had only four rebounds vs. Toronto. It’s an inconsistency he’s got to resolve.
We know, we know. It’s only preseason and it’s only two games (either way). That said, Allen is becoming a human highlight reel with fans wondering what he’ll do on almost any play he’s involved in. And he’s only 20-years-old – younger than rookie Rodions Kurucs and less than a year older than rookie Dzanan Musa.
There are other things we’d like to see from Allen, like passing out of the Post ... and yes, a big game vs. Kanter on Friday night at the Garden. Needless to say, it’s going to be a fun year watching Jarrett Allen.