Jarrett Allen usually let’s the play come to him, whether it’s a pick-and-roll on the court or question from a reporter off the court. He’s that mild-mannered.
Well, at least that’s what we thought until another career night, this one against Brooklyn’s former face of the franchise, Brook Lopez. Allen spoke his mind, made it clear, he has big plans.
“Face of the franchise,” Allen said about facing off against Lopez. “Now I’m here trying to become the face, too, so just going back and forth.”
“I wouldn’t call it replacing Brook. Brook is one of a kind that I hear. I mean, he has stuff, I have stuff, and I’m just trying to see where I’m at against him.”
Well, he’s off to a good start.
Allen became the second-youngest Net to score 20 points in a game, which was a new career-high for him. In the last five games, he’s averaging 14 points and six rebounds in 22 minutes. He’s 29-of-35 —that’s 82.9 percent— from the field over that span. It didn’t end there. He had a monster block on Brook Lopez in the paint and two steals.
“He’s going to be good. He’s not going to be good… he’s already good from what little I’ve seen,” said Lakers head coach Luke Walton.
“Brooklyn does a great job of spreading the floor with shooters and he just runs into screens and he’s a great roller. He gets there quick,” Walton continued. “He does it every time and any time you make a mistake, he’s long and athletic, seemed like he has some good footwork down there, and he makes you pay.”
Allen has suddenly become a focal point of the offense. He’s starring in the pick-and-roll and continues to show confidence with the ball in his hands. Moreover, he’s getting stronger down low, and he’s shown that he’s quick enough to defend smaller players.
What’s impressed some the most? His passion, according to Spencer Dinwiddie.
In talking to reporters after the game, Brian Lewis asked Dinwiddie if he read any preseason analysis on Allen’s “lack of passion” for the game. Dinwiddie looked at Lewis with a smile on his face and said, “That’s why I gave him the compliment.”
Perhaps the most important aspect of Allen’s improvement has been confidence. He knows the coaching staff trusts him, especially now that he’s starting and finishing games out.
“Coach is starting to trust me more in crunch time, in the important part of the game. Me being in there, you can tell there is trust,” said Allen.
“You know, he’s playing great basketball and he gets better with every game and I can’t wait til he spends a summer in the weight room and starts to get stronger,” said Kenny Atkinson. “I think some of those rebounds, it’s just a matter of strength and he’s going to get that.”
Atkinson laid out specifically what he likes.
“You can already see him maturing, he’s already getting stronger and a summer with our performance team, we’re very excited about him. He’s doing it on both ends too right, it’s not just, obviously the pick-and-roll stuff and the pivots and the dunks and all that is great. It’s a big part of our offense and then his defense is, obviously, rim protecting and his agility. He’s playing well.”
He has the tools do so. The potential is clearly there. He speaks and acts very mature which signifies good character.
And he’s only 19.