Grayson Allen – Duke
CPP Big Board Ranking: #28 Overall (#13 SG)
Weight: 198 lbs
Age/Birthday: 22 (10/08/95)
Hometown: Jacksonville, FL
High School: Providence School of Jacksonville
(Grant Kobrin – 1/21/18)
Grayson Allen has had quite the journey over his four seasons at Duke. As a freshman, Allen was hardly in the rotation and then out of nowhere came alive in the national championship scoring 16 points and leading Duke to a win over a phenomenal Wisconsin team that featured Frank Kaminsky and Sam Dekker. Then, Grayson returned back to Duke as the school’s hero and had a breakout season averaging over 21 points a game, but chose to return to Duke for his junior year despite being a projected first round draft pick. His junior year he put up decent numbers despite everything that was going on with his suspension from intentionally tripping the Elon player, and his benching following the incident. After all of this, Allen had no choice but to return to Durham, North Carolina for his senior year. Coach Krzyzewski told Allen to take some time off from basketball during the summer in order to get mentally prepared for the season and to find his love for basketball again. Allen spent three months away from the game of basketball during the summer and has shown a new passion for basketball, as he is help leading a group of freshman in pursuit of a national championship. Allen is averaging over 15 points a game and is putting himself in a great position to be reconsidered by NBA scouts as a legitimate prospect. He is among the best seniors in this year’s draft class and has the talent and experience to be a first round pick, despite his age and limited upside.
Strengths: Grayson Allen is a great athlete for a guard. The expression “white men can’t jump” does not apply to Allen as he is a high flyer and explosive athlete. He has an above average first step and uses his speed to attack the rim. Allen has a score first mentality and can score in a variety of ways. He can finish off a fastbreak with an explosive dunk or a crafty layup, he can attack the rim and finish in a half court setting, and he can shoot off the dribble. Whether in a catch and shoot scenario or coming off a screen from an inbounds pass, Grayson Allen exceeds expectations. Allen is a pure shooting guard despite being undersized for the position. He has a pure jump shot and has shown the ability to shoot the ball consistently in clutch moments throughout his four years at Duke. He has great mechanics on his jump shot and deep range shot and will not have much of an adjustment shooting over NBA defenders. Allen is a solid ball handler for a shooting guard and is somewhat comfortable as a playmaker and primary ball handler. Allen may play some point guard in the NBA, although I don’t believe he is ready for that right now. But it is something that he could have the potential to do in the future. Allen has solid court vision, but definitely seems to have some “tunnel vision” when he is attacking the rim at times. Allen is a decent defender as he uses his strength and quickness to his advantage. He moves his feet well but needs to control his temperament when guarding the ball. He rebounds the ball decently for a guard, but he is more used to be the outlet guy for Duke. Lastly, as mentioned previously Allen is a tenacious and clutch player. He wants to make the play in the big moments and is never afraid to take the big shot. He is an excellent free throw shooter, as he has shot well above 80% from the charity stripe in each of his four seasons at Duke. He is someone that you want on the court as an extra ball handler or clutch scorer at the end of a close game.
Weaknesses: Grayson Allen’s primary weakness lies in his temperament. He has had several incidents throughout his college career, but the primary one occurred during his junior year with his intentional trip against an Elon guard on the baseline where he put out his leg like he was trying to slide tackle him. Allen was taken out of the game and was then seen hysterically crying on the sideline, along with a major meltdown that he was having after being called for a technical foul. This kind of behavior is unacceptable and will not be tolerated in the league. NBA players have been indefinitely suspended for things that didn’t even compare to this incident. Coach Krzyzewski ultimately only suspended Allen for one game, but he came off the bench for the rest of the season, and his NBA draft dreams for the 2017 draft were tarnished at that point. Grayson’s high school basketball coach explained that the incident may have occurred because of his soccer background, as the play looked like much more of a soccer play than a basketball game. Regardless, this kind of behavior can never occur again for Allen, if he wants any chance of ever playing in the NBA. Besides this the major question with Allen lies in his limited upside due to being a four year player. Allen needs to show improvement in his all around game this season in order to prove scouts wrong. Scouts believe that Allen at times shows poor shot selection and plays out of control in a sense. This is specifically shown when he is attacking the rim, as he often times only looks for his own shot and has “tunnel vision”. Additionally some questions have arised over his defensive ability, but in my opinion he has shown to be a good defender when he keeps his temperament under control, but he certainly has room to grow in this area of his game. Lastly, Allen is undersized for a shooting guard. He is typically listed at 6’4” or 6’5”, although he appears to barely be 6’3”, and may even be slightly smaller than that. Allen needs to compensate this by becoming more comfortable with the ball in his hands and as a distributor, as he may need to play some point guard in the NBA, as mentioned previously. Overall Allen looks like a pretty polished player though, which isn’t much of a surprise considering he spent four years at Duke playing under Coach Krzyzewski. The real mystery is how his skill set and tenacity will fare against NBA guards.
Player Outlook & NBA Comparison: More Athletic Version of Ron Baker
Grayson Allen could turn into a decent role player like Ron Baker has been with the Knicks. Baker is another ball handling option for the Knicks and can be effective as an off the ball guard in catch and shoot scenarios. Grayson has the potential to be much more effective than a player like Ron Baker because of how explosive and athletic he really is. But Grayson should strive to become as fundamental as Ron Baker is. Ron Baker’s fundamental skill set has allowed him to stick around the league as an undrafted combo guard from Wichita State.
Grayson Allen needs to continue to get better in his final season here at Duke, and has to continue to show scouts that he can shoot the ball well and make good decisions with the ball in his hands. Allen has his weaknesses but scouts are already mostly aware of these. Look for Grayson to be selected somewhere at the end of the first round in this year’s draft. However, Allen could be a safer pick in the second round with how much risk is involved in taking a player like Allen, who many scouts think has the potential to be a bust in the NBA. I personally believe that Allen could be a great combo guard off the bench in the NBA, but needs to prove that he can be effective as a primary ball handler in an NBA offense. Regardless, Allen has had a tremendous career at Duke even with all of the obstacles he’s gone though, and will have a legitimate chance of playing in the NBA next season.
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