In a season where not much can be salvaged, the Brooklyn Nets can take pride in the development of rookie center Jarrett Allen.
As the 2017 NBA Draft approached, there was little hype surrounding the Brooklyn Nets.
Little did fans know, the team’s front office had eyes on franchise star Brook Lopez’s replacement, in Jarrett Allen of the University of Texas.
“With the 24th pick of the 2017 NBA Draft, the Brooklyn Nets select Jarrett Allen.”
Adam Silver made it official on a podium in Brooklyn’s very own Barclays Center. They had selected a lanky, but lengthy shot blocker in the first round.
With expectations set low, the Nets made way to preparing Allen for a much more physical game in the NBA. It was clear once the season started they had plenty of work left to do.
Allen approached the rim timidly on offense, refusing to leave the post. He often looked lost next to opposing centers.
Five months later, with only 18 games left to play, that statement could not be any more false. Jarrett Allen is an NBA caliber center, and his progress has shined bright among the darker days this year.
As of March 3, the Nets big man is averaging 8.1 points, 5.9 rebounds and 0.9 blocks per game. He most recently posted 15 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks in a loss to the Sacramento Kings.
The rookie making the big plays down the stretch! pic.twitter.com/oepoEywFDh
— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) March 2, 2018
Allen blocked fellow rookie De’Aaron Fox, aiding the Nets in pushing the game to overtime. They would go on to lose that night, but remain winners in the rookie’s continuous coming out.
So, when did Allen truly break loose? I like to say it was back in a December loss to Atlanta.
Prior to that game, the rookie had yet to post double-digit points. Against the Hawks, he recorded a then career-high 12 points, along with six rebounds and two blocks.
Since that night, Allen has posted double-digits in 22 of 42 games. Look at his averages before and after the loss to Atlanta.
- October/November/December: (21 games) 4.2 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 0.7 blocks per game.
- December/January/February: (42 games) 9.5 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 0.9 blocks per game.
It’s no huge jump, but his play has obviously grown in recent months. He’s more aggressive in the post and has even extended his range to the three-point line (3-9 total).
Then there’s his best dunk this season, which came recently in a commanding 104-87 win over the Chicago Bulls.
A #FroDown that will be remembered for a long time.
This week's @BlueRockEnergy High Energy Play of the Week! pic.twitter.com/je8NcWS1K9
— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) March 3, 2018
With injuries having robbed teammates Jeremy Lin, D’Angelo Russell, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, and Caris LeVert of full and healthy seasons, this Nets rookie took full advantage.
When this young and competitive team prepares to bounce back next season, center is one position of little concern.
In an injury-plagued year, where goals weren’t met, the Nets found the perfect minute count to develop their rookie big man. A silver lining as well as they come, and certainly a foreshadow to what they can accomplish with their other youth in the coming years.
One less piece of the puzzle to mold and make fit, Jarrett Allen’s progression as a player should leave a great taste in the mouth of Nets fans. When Brooklyn’s ready, he will be too.
Brooklyn will travel to San Francisco on Tuesday for the third of a five-game road trip. They play the Golden State Warriors, tip-off is at 10:30 pm est.