Cleveland Cavaliers: What’s the next step for Jarrett Allen?

Jarrett Allen has started his breakout with the Cleveland Cavaliers and with him, the Cavaliers have their center of the future. Getting involved in the blockbuster James Harden trade, the Cavaliers were able to acquire Allen while only giving up an expiring contract in Dante Exum and the Milwaukee Bucks’ 2022 first-round pick, a pick that will more than likely be slotted in the late 20s.

In 51 games with the Cavaliers, the 6-foot-11 center averaged a career-high 13.2 points per game, to go with 9.9 rebounds and 1.4 blocks, shooting 60.9 percent from the field.

Throughout the season, Allen showcased rim protection and activeness on defense while serving as a great lob threat for Darius Garland on offense. Adding to his offense, Allen has looked to add to his arsenal, occasionally taking shots from outside the painted area.

Allen, who is set to be a restricted free agent, is due for an extension this offseason and questions have arisen over how much he is worth.

Initial reports indicate that the Cavaliers will offer him a contract of around 20 million dollars annually, and he could reportedly potentially receive an offer of $25 million per year at some point, per one NBA agent. But this number could fluctuate once we get closer to free agency.

The question then comes upon whether or not Allen is worth this lucrative contract.

This past season with the Cavs was the first time in Allen’s career that he averaged at least 30 minutes per game and there were moments where Allen looked overmatched against the competition. Whether that had to do with injuries (such as a prior concussion absence), and effort or not can be answered next season.

The next question that has to be answered is how much of an offensive impact Allen can make for his projected contract. Allen is someone who relies heavily on guard play and we saw that first-hand this season. Allen averaged 14.2 points per game on 63.9 percent shooting from the field in games played with Garland compared to 8.8 points per game on 46.5 percent shooting in games played without Garland; both per StatMuse.

With all that said, considering that Allen fits in with our “core-4”, the Cavaliers should look to re-sign him as the team needs continuity as well as having that enforcer in Allen. Even with his offensive limitations, Allen is still a very productive player and prior to his concussion, Allen was playing some of the best basketball of his career.

In the 20 games prior to his injury, Allen averaged 14.9 points, 11.2 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game, shooting 60.5 percent from the field. This version of Jarrett Allen is the one that is worth $20 million annually.

 So what is the next step for Allen, realistically for the Cavs?

Allen is almost certain to be back as the long-term center for the Cavaliers as general manager Koby Altman stated that he and Collin Sexton are players they want to keep and look at as part of the “core-4,” via Camryn Justice of News 5 Cleveland.

For Allen, the biggest thing for him will be to continue to become comfortable from outside of the paint area. Allen took 60 shots farther than 10 feet away from the rim this season and that number is bound to be higher next year with another offseason to work on his game.

Considering how much Allen relies on guard play, it should be one of the Cavs’ top priorities to add playable facilitators to the team. Players like T.J. McConnell, Ish Smith and Patty Mills are all guards who fit that bill and should fit inside the Cavs’ Mid-Level Exception.

Next year is the first time in the post-LeBron James era where Cleveland has a legitimate shot at making the playoffs.

And re-signing Jarrett Allen will be the first step in the Cavaliers becoming competitive again and should he make some improvements, look out for the Fro to make another jump next season.