With the draft a short week away, the Boston Celtics begin to turn their attention toward the young athletes looking to make the leap into the league.
Headlining the draft are 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.
Boston holds the 27th pick and has reportedly narrowed down their field of prospects to around 10 players. Perhaps the most interesting of the prospects the team has worked out is Duke’s Grayson Allen.
Allen is 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. He played four years under legendary Coach Krzyzewski, finishing his tenure with 14 points, three assists, 3.1 rebounds, and two three-pointers made per game on 37.5% three-point field goal shooting. His best season came in his second 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’.
What Allen Does Well
These on-court antics should not concern Boston. Jayson Tatum gave Ainge the thumbs up on Grayson. Tatum 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) 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.
Where He Struggles
Grayson is not as athletic as most of the undersized shooting guards in the NBA, 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 to try to guard his bigger and more explosive counterparts. He is not super quick laterally. Without good help 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 should still be on the board when Boston is on the clock with the 27th overall pick. It is unlikely Boston takes Allen as the team favors long, athletic players with switch ability.
Best case player comparison- Eric Gordon.
Likely player comparison- Austin Rivers.