Cleveland Cavaliers: Jarrett Allen looks to be himself again

Cleveland Cavaliers big Jarrett Allen blocks a shot. (Photo by David Richard-USA TODAY Sports)
Cleveland Cavaliers big Jarrett Allen blocks a shot. (Photo by David Richard-USA TODAY Sports) /

Jarrett Allen fairly recently was out for an eight-game absence because of a concussion/the league’s concussion protocol, and when he came back, did appear to be feeling things out to a degree. I thought in his first two games back, he did play pretty well for the Cleveland Cavaliers, but Allen did have a few games following those where he didn’t look to be fully back.

Coming off concussion absences, that wasn’t to be unexpected, though.

That’s with how Allen plays, in particular, and he wasn’t nearly the finisher he usually has proven to be, nor was he seemingly as active altering interior shots/acculumating rebounds. That was for a few games, at least.

Fortunately, after having a few games where he didn’t look to be his typical self, Allen looks to be fully back for the Wine and Gold, if you will. It wasn’t necessarily highlighted in the second half on Friday in what would result in a blowout loss to the Washington Wizards in a game Garland injured his ankle and whose night was cut short.

Allen appears to be himself again for the Cavs, though.

In the past four games, Allen has had 18.0 points, 10.8 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per outing, and he even had a career-best 27-point performance at the Wizards on Sunday. The two-man game with Allen and Darius Garland has gotten progressively better it seems, and that was on display at Washington then, involving pick-and-roll lobs, for one.

Allen did show great touch on push shots as a roller/diver in that game, too, in particular, and we’ve seen both of those aspects of his game on display in games since.

In a general as a finisher, though, Allen has appeared to be far more assertive when he’s gotten the chances to go up with it inside, and he’s gotten his work done earlier in possessions to get post seals, leading to looks from Garland, for example. That’s been refreshing to see, from my perspective, also; again it was unfortunate Garland injured his ankle on Friday, though.

But Allen’s efforts inside on the offensive glass have been there, too. In Cleveland’s near-comeback effort on Wednesday against the Orlando Magic, Allen did have six of his 13 rebounds on the offensive end, and ended up having a robust 17 points in that one.

He was putting pressure on the Magic pretty regularly, and was usually taking advantage when the looks came, and while he did only hit three-of-six, he had his share of free throw attempts, indicating an aggressive mindset.

Additionally, Allen seeming to be more active on the defensive end in the paint than in a few of those outings after his absence has been an encouraging sign that he’s looking to be himself again, so to speak.

He’s done a solid job communicating off-ball to aid other Cavs when cutters have gone through the lane and Allen’s made an impact in regards to altering/blocking shots near the basket. And that’s also been a very positive sign that he looks to be fully back, which is a plus for his efforts to close out the 2020-21 campaign.

That’s even more so with Isaiah Hartenstein dealing with a concussion currently, in regards to what could seemingly be Allen’s primary backup 5 looking onward, and Hartenstein having missed Cleveland’s past four outings.

Moreover, although the Cavaliers, regardless of their injury situation, have had their struggles lately and have lost nine of 11, it’s been good to see Allen look to be himself again. Even with him doing his damage mostly right near the rim, him having hit 68.2 percent of his 11.0 shot attempts per contest in these past four has been further evidence of that, too.

And given what he’s shown in most of his time with Cleveland since being acquired via trade from the Brooklyn Nets in mid-January, I’d expect him to be locked up long-term this upcoming offseason.

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Allen’s set to be a restricted free agent and looks to be set for a sizable pay day, but if needed, given prior reports/rumors, it seems highly likely that he’ll be with the Cavs for the forseeable future.