When Jarrett Allen returns, Cavs will have quite the 1-2 punch at the 5

Cleveland Cavaliers big Isaiah Hartenstein rebounds the ball. (Photo by Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports)
Cleveland Cavaliers big Isaiah Hartenstein rebounds the ball. (Photo by Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Isaiah Hartenstein, Cleveland Cavaliers
Cleveland Cavaliers big Isaiah Hartenstein drives. (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images) /

We haven’t seen Jarrett Allen in there for the Cleveland Cavaliers in the past seven games due to a concussion. Clearly, with the jammed-in layout of the schedule this season in the NBA, and fairly limited practice time to boot, that’s likely also played into the absences even more so in this stretch of absences.

With concussions, either way, though, one can’t have a true timetable, and hopefully Jarrett is recovering fully over time here. We’ll have to see when Allen is back, but one could perhaps foresee that being sooner rather than later, so maybe some point next week?

Cleveland.com’s Chris Fedor reported on Saturday that both Allen and Larry Nance Jr. (illness) could be back on Wednesday at the Charlotte Hornets, which was a plus. Both of those players could’ve helped Cleveland on Saturday, a game when the Cavs did make it more respectable ultimately, but conceded a franchise-record 87 first half points to the Toronto Raptors, who were without Kyle Lowry, Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet (yikes)!

And Allen is likely set to be out in the second leg of Cleveland’s home back-to-back on Sunday versus the New Orleans Pelicans, as an added site note.

The Cavs ideally want Allen back well in the fold in there, given how well he’s typically played thus far since being acquired via trade from the Brooklyn Nets in the James Harden mega deal.

Allen, who had been set as seemingly the starting 5 of the future for a considerable stretch prior to the concussion, has had 13.8 points, 9.7 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per outing with the Cavs. And on the year, given his interior finishing prowess/timing as a lob threat, he’s been third in field goal percentage among qualified NBA players this season at 63.3 percent, per Basketball Reference.

A positive with the Allen recent absences, and more recently, though, has been how Isaiah Hartenstein has performed since being acquired via trade from the Denver Nuggets near the league’s trade deadline a few weeks back.

Hartenstein has had 10.3 points, 9.3 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.7 blocks in 23.8 minutes per appearance in five games so far with Cleveland, and looks to have been a quality add. The Cavs of course acquired him from Denver in exchange for JaVale McGee, and two future second-round picks, and Cleveland generated a $4.2 million trade exception for McGee, for what it’s worth.

Anyway, while I was pleased with how McGee played for the Cavs in his half season with them as a backup 5, and he should help the Nuggets as a battle-tested rotational big, Hartenstein has done a nice job in his opportunities.

And when factoring in Allen, too, when he’s back, that’s quite the tandem of 5s.

When Allen’s back, the Cavs will have quite the 1-2 punch at the 5 with Hartenstein, too.

We know what Jarrett provides for the Cavs when he’s able to go in terms of the rim protection, putback/rebounding element, energy and the constant lob threat for Darius Garland and company, and he’s Cleveland’s future at the starting 5.

That’s assuming he is locked up long-term in this upcoming offseason, and while Allen won’t be cheap necessarily, he’ll be more than worth it.

From there, while it’s been obviously just a six-game sample size with Cleveland, Hartenstein, who was not given much of a chance with the Houston Rockets in his first two seasons, and had fairly spotty minutes with Denver behind Nikola Jokic, has had more opportunities here.