Height – 6’4.5″
Weight – 198 pounds
Wingspan – 6’7.25″
Age – 22
School – Duke
DraftExpress Rank – 30
Stats – 35.6 minutes, 15.5 points, 4.6 assists, 3.3 rebounds, 1.7 steals, 41.8 FG%, 37.0 3PT%, 85.0 FT%
If you’re reading this, you’ve heard of Grayson Allen. And you’ve probably not heard great things about him. Allen made a name for himself early in his career for his antics more than his play, and rightfully so.
While he likely cost himself millions by not coming out after his sophomore year, Allen still developed into one of the best shooters in the class. He’s become a great scorer, a solid ball-handler and a player who will be drafted come June.
His defensive shortcomings are glaring and his physical shortcomings (literally) limit his versatility, but that doesn’t change the fact that his offense is good enough to get him time on the court.
For the next few minutes, though, put aside personal feelings toward Allen as we look at his skillset.
Shooting – Specific to the Lakers, Grayson Allen could fit in seamlessly as the two-guard in the Lakers’ system. He’s comfortable in spot-ups, off-the-dribble, catch-and-shoot, off screens and in virtually every situation.
With his ball-handling, Allen often found himself in the pick and roll often. He’s comfortable pulling up for three out of the screen or pulling up behind the screen if defenders go under.
In more conventional pick and rolls, Allen is comfortable also attacking a sagging big man either with a drive into the lane or a pull-up jumper.
On two-point jumpers this season, Allen shot 43.8 percent on 96 attempts. Allen has driven less and less to the rim over his career, taking 32.6 percent of his field goals there in his sophomore year and just 14.1 percent last season.
His finishing at the rim has wavered as well. As a sophomore, he shot 61.1 percent at the rim, but that number dipped to 52.2 percent as a junior. In his senior season, though, the number rose back to 60.7 percent on 61 shots at the rim.
During his time at Duke, Allen has bulked up, going from a player that was athletic and finished through contact at the rim to a guy who struggled at times finishing over length. Allen measured just 5.55 percent body fat at the combine, meaning the bulk added has been more muscular allowing him to play 142 games in four years.
Back to his shooting, though. Allen is just as adept creating openings off the ball as he is on it. As a spot-up shooter, he was lights out this season on the few opportunities he found himself open.
In the clip, Allen throws a post entry pass, relocates to the open space after seeing his defender turn his back to him and knock down the jumper. Allen’s form is quick and compact enough that he can get it off while being contested as he doesn’t need much time to shoot.
Along with that, he can score coming off screens off the ball as well, although it was a situation he wasn’t often used in last season.
Allen is not just a player capable of scoring off the screen but can read his defender’s movement and create an open look. In this clip, he sees his defender going under the screen, fades slightly into the corner and creates enough separation to get his shot off.
The Lakers used Kentavious Caldwell-Pope in plenty of off-ball screen situations last season. Allen could step in as the guy off the bench to do much of the same and keep the offense moving.
In similar situations, Allen is comfortable coming off dribble hand-offs, another action the Lakers often use, and knocking down open jumpers.
In this clip, Allen is actually in-bounding the ball but is so decisive in his decision-making that he catches Michigan State napping, losing his man on the screen and against scoring against a sagging big man.
Allen is one of the more polished scorers in this class. More than just knocking down open shots or hitting jumpers, Allen can score in a variety of ways that make him a dangerous offensive threat and someone that should be an instant contributor in the league.
His fit with the Lakers would be seamless in many ways as he ran many of the actions Los Angeles would use him in as a senior at Duke.
Ball-handling – At times, Allen was used as a point guard for Duke during his four years. His usage percentage ranged from 20.7 percent as a senior to 26.8 percent as a sophomore. As a junior and senior, though, his assist percentage peaked north of 21 percent.
As previously stated, his struggles at times at finishing over length but is great at driving into the lane and dumping off to a big.
His success on the ball varied at times, but he was capable of doing so. At the next level, he could be a secondary creator and even a point guard in some lineups.
Length – There’s a lot to break down with Allen on defense but we’ll start with his length or lack thereof. This will be something that will hurt him on both sides of the ball. At the combine, Allen measured at 6’4.5″ with shoes with a 6.7.25″ wingspan. In the modern NBA, that likely forces him into a shooting guard only role, especially given his struggles on the defensive end.
On-ball – As stated above, Allen was sacrificed explosiveness and quickness for bulk. The result is that he is beaten by quicker players quite often and doesn’t react well. Though there were many factors in the move, Duke was forced into a zone this season defensively partly because of their guards’ struggles to keep players in front of them.
To be fair to Allen, it’s not like he is no longer explosive. He can still get to the rim and finish and is pretty much the poster boy for the phrase “deceptively athletic”
Off-ball – Allen also went to the Late Career Kobe Bryant School of Defending as he falls asleep at times off the ball or gets caught ball-watching, resulting in back cuts and open looks.
This problem is more fixable than his lack of reaction time as remaining attentive is something he can control. Still, it limits his ceiling as a pick and is why he comes in so low on draft boards despite his offensive game.
Fit With Lakers
His fit with Los Angeles was discussed a lot above but its a pretty seamless one offensively. The Lakers badly need shooting around Ball and Allen provides that. He can also be a secondary playmaker for the Lakers whether Ball is on the court or not, alleviating much of the burden for him.
Defensively, though, there are some concerns. Depending on how much faith one puts into the newfound identity of the Lakers, those concerns might not mean as much as it does to others.
But Allen gives the Lakers an option off the bench to provide instant offense, something the team missed after Jordan Clarkson left, and a player that could still be a good fit next to two superstars should the Lakers actually land LeBron James and Paul George.