Brooklyn Nets: Evaluating Jarrett Allen in year 2

Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images
Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images /

Jarrett Allen is one of the NBA’s most exciting young center prospects. Here’s a look at how he progressed in his second career season for the Brooklyn Nets.

The Brooklyn Nets found themselves a steal when they selected Jarrett Allen 22nd overall in the 2017 NBA Draft. Grabbing a former McDonald’s All-American that far outside the lottery was a great break for the franchise. During his rookie season in 2017-18, Allen flashed major potential as a rim-runner and rim protector, but the 6’11” Texas native was also extremely raw.

This past year, his second as a pro, Allen continued to grow as both a defensive anchor and finisher around them rim to help the Nets reach the playoffs for the first time in four years. Allen also proved to be one of the league’s most dependable players, as he started 80 games and recorded a double-double in 24 of them.

One quick glance at Allen’s counting stats will show the area where he most improved from year one to year two was in the rebounding department. Allen averaged a pedestrian 5.4 rebounds per game as a rookie, but saw his average shoot up to 8.4 in his sophomore season. This is something his head coach, Kenny Atkinson, noticed as well and mentioned during his end-of-season media session, via the New York Post:

"”His rebounding improved this year. He’s a key cog and still 21…I’m really thrilled with his development so far.”"

Allen’s major uptick in rebounding can be attributed to the 21-year-old continuing to grow into his body and becoming more adjusted with the pace of the NBA, so he could be a threat to average 10 boards per game next year.

Allen also continued to hone his two calling card skills of shot-blocking and finishing around the basket. Allen entered the league as a well-respected eraser, but this past season saw him emerge as a shot-blocking maestro in league circles. As you can see in the video below, Allen developed a penchant for rejecting some of the league’s biggest stars (and best dunkers, for that matter) in 2018-19:

While you cannot teach the length and timing Allen displays here, the Nets center really improved his vertical discipline in his sophomore campaign and will only continue to grow as a feared rim protector.

Jarrett Allen also built upon his ability to score efficiently around the rim. In fact, the former Longhorn finished with the eighth-best field goal percentage in the entire NBA at 59.0 percent. Allen also increased his field goal percentage at the rim from 69.8 percent as a rookie to 72.5 percent this year while attempting 120 more shots in this zone.

This was an especially encouraging development, as Allen had a little bit of “JaVale McGee syndrome” as a rookie and missed 16.6 percent of his dunk attempts. Often times he was too hesitant and passive trying to finish when he first entered the league. He learned to dunk with authority in 2018-19.

Francis Adu of Nets Republic put together a great piece showing Allen’s inability to flush dunks as a rookie. However, Jarrett threw down with confidence in year two and capped things off with this alley-oop dunk over Joel Embiid in the playoffs:

While Allen made major strides as a rebounder, finisher and shot-blocker as a second-year big man, not everything went smoothly. The Brooklyn Nets asked Allen to space the floor a bit more in 2018-19, but he only made six of his 45 attempted 3-pointers. He also shot a dismal 28.6 percent on mid-range jumpers and did not convert a field goal outside of the restricted area in five postseason games against the Philadelphia 76ers.

The Ringer’s Jonathan Tjarks outlined why Allen’s future ability to knock down shots will ultimately determine his ceiling as an NBA player. Centers that don’t space the floor are becoming less and less valuable in the modern game.

Some pundits believe Jarrett Allen can be a Clint Capela type of big man with a respectful outside jumper, but if last season was any indication, that may just be wishful thinking.

Allen is already a guy that could potentially contend for All-Defensive teams and will always be able to get his points via tip-ins and as a roll-man, but shooting reigns supreme in the NBA these days. “The Fro” must make progress as a shooter in 2019-20 if he wants to become an elite center.

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Nevertheless, the Nets have to be pleased with Jarrett Allen’s jump from year one to year two and excited to see what’s to come next season.