The Trail Blazers’ offseason is upon us, and the 2018 NBA Draft will provide Portland with an opportunity to supplement its roster with a talented youngster. With only the No. 24 pick at their disposal on draft night, the Blazers will surely look to get lucky by finding an NBA-worthy prospect in the latter stages of the first round. Today we will be looking at the intriguing potential of Duke senior guard Grayson Allen.
- Height: 6’4’’
- Weight: 185
- Wingspan: 6’7’’
- Shoots: Right
- Position: Shooting Guard
- Age: 23
- Projected Draft Range: Late 1st round - Early 2nd round
- PPG: 15.5 I 17.4
- RPG: 3.3 I 3.7
- APG: 4.6 I 5.2
- STL: 1.7 I 1.9
- FG%: 41.8
- 3P%: 37.0
- FT%: 85.0
As with many players to come out of Duke, Allen is a high-functioning offensive player. While his minutes fluctuated due to roster changes and attitude issues over his four years with coach Mike Krzyzewski, his ability to put the ball in the basket was never questioned. In fact, he is 12th on the school’s all-time scoring list, mostly due to his elite status as a three-point shooter. An underrated part of Allen’s game that developed during his senior year is his intelligence and eagerness to create for his teammates. His 172 total assists stood second only to Trevon Duval and was Allen’s best total of his career. The Duke guard also has some sneaky bounce, as displayed by this monster jam at the PK80 against Portland State.
The obvious “in your face” knock on Allen is his seemingly endless battle between being an aggressive player and being a dirty one. This shouldn’t be an issue in the NBA, as there are more than enough players who will set him straight if a tripping incident were to happen. As for pure basketball weaknesses, a big one comes in the paint, where his finishing skills can get muddled at times. When the Duke guard drives into too much traffic, his likelihood to convert the shot drops considerably. Defensively, he has his moments, but hasn’t proven to be consistent. It won’t get any easier at the next level. With Allen’s average size and physical attributes, he won’t be able to rely on mismatches on defense like he could in college.
Allen’s fourth and final year as a Blue Devil was his most complete campaign. Sure, as a sophomore he averaged nearly 22 points per game, but that roster had just two other NBA caliber players on it – Brandon Ingram and Luke Kennard. This season, Duke fielded a stacked and well-documented slew of next level talent. Allen certainly wasn’t the first option and wasn’t always the second or third option. Instead, he took supporting role and ended as a Top Two performer in points, assists, and steals per game. Allen’s best came in at the PK80 when he scored 37 points and led the Blue Devils to a win over #2 Michigan State. As a team, Duke went 29-8 and lost to Kansas in overtime for a shot to get to overtime.
There is no question that Allen will be able to score at the next level. Even if he turns into a three-point shooting dominant player, he can still be successful with one of the quickest shot releases in the draft. Defensively, he is going to have to prove he can keep shooting guards in front of him. Draft workouts will be a tell-tale sign for teams on whether or not that is a reasonable expectation. Had Allen left Duke after his sophomore year, he was projected to be a lottery pick. Two years later, his stock has dropped to a borderline first rounder. For teams looking for a hidden gem near the bottom of the top 30, Allen fits the mold: an extremely gifted player whose weaknesses were highlighted during maximum exposure in college. Recent upperclassmen draftees such as Kyle Kuzma, Malcolm Brogdon and Josh Richardson have all proven staying in college longer can be a blessing, not a curse.
Even though Trevon Duval took a lot of the ball-handling duties for Duke last season, Allen accepted his role. If Neil Olshey is targeting a secondary playmaker who can score off the bench, there aren’t many more refined options. Allen provides more size than Shabazz Napier and is a much better shooter than Evan Turner. The Duke guard would also provide the Trail Blazers with some edginess. Say what you want, but Allen is notorious for laying it all out when it matters most. If the sweep versus New Orleans said anything, it was that Portland needed more players that did exactly that.
Do you want to see Allen in a Trail Blazers jersey next season? What prospect would you like to see us highlight next? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.