With the draft a short week away the NBA world begins to turn it’s attention toward the young athletes looking to make the leap into the league. The draft is headlined with the likes of Duke forward Marvin Bagley, Arizona’s Deandre Ayton, and international guard Luka Doncic. These are the players garnishing most of the buzz as mock drafts begin winding down and top 100 rankings start clearing up.
The most polarizing and perhaps controversial name to look for as the draft creeps towards the end of the first round and into the second is Duke’s Grayson Allen. He played 4 years under legendary Coach Krzyzewski, finishing his tenure with 14 points, 3 assists, 3.1 rebounds, and 2 three pointers made per game on 37.5% 3pt field goal shooting. His best season came in his 2nd year at Duke, where he averaged 21.6 points and 4.6 rebounds per game while eclipsing the 40% mark from three-point range.
Allen became a polarizing figure because of his on court tripping antics, receiving the label as a ‘dirty player’.
The league should not be too concerned about these on court antics. Former teammates of Allen have come out and said that he is not a ‘dirty’ player, he is just highly competitive. He is a well-educated individual that will soon learn that the tripping will not fly in the NBA. As he matures this will be a non-factor.
Grayson is a decent athlete with a pretty good shot (37.5% 3pt fg) and an ability to get to the rim. He is not a true point guard, but he also lacks the ideal size for a shooting guard in today’s NBA. Allen is much smaller than guys like Klay Thompson, Derozan, and Harden, all examples of players that fit the shooting guard mold perfectly.
Grayson is not as athletic as most of the NBA’s undersized shooting guards, which could hurt his ability to create separation between him and his taller defender. He is not a crafty ball handler and lacks an explosive first step. At times Allen struggles with reading his defender’s position and tends to be a bit one dimensional with his move set.
There is a level of concern about Allen’s defensive capabilities moving forward. Based on his size and average athleticism Grayson might struggle trying to guard his bigger and more explosive counterparts. He is not super quick laterally, so without good help side defense he may be prone to blow byes.
Grayson Allen has a high basketball IQ, good shooting ability, and he does come from a winning culture. Duke University does have a solid track record of producing good pro ball players. Some alumni include Grant Hill, Kyrie Irving, JJ Redick, Jayson Tatum, and Brandon Ingram.
Under the right system Grayson Allen could develop into a solid role player. Given his physical attributes he comes as a pretty big gamble with a conservative ceiling and a low floor. He projects as a late first-early second round pick.
Best case player comparison- Eric Gordon.
Likely player comparison- Austin Rivers.