Big man Jarrett Allen has been outstanding for the Cleveland Cavaliers this season, and he’s proving that his new five-year, $100 million contract this past offseason was more than well-deserved, and that he’ll only get better and better.
Allen has had career-highs in points (16.6) and rebounds (11.0) per game this season, and even with him doing most of his damage in the deep paint, he has still been among the league leaders in field goal shooting throughout the season. Currently, his shooting percentage of 69.4 ranks second among qualified players, per Basketball Reference.
Allen and rookie phenom Evan Mobley have formed quite the defensive duo at the 4/5 often for the Cavaliers, too, and with how Allen and Darius Garland have taken notable strides this season, both could end up in the All-Star game in Cleveland next month. They have both been key cogs for the Wine and Gold, who has been one of the biggest surprises this year so far, in which they’re sixth in the Eastern Conference.
With Allen as the focal point here, though, while he’s been one of the league’s best rim protectors, finishers as a roller and on putbacks, and has made progress in relation to containing perimeter players when needed, offensively, his post-up growth has been awesome to see this season. It’s played into his career-high scoring, and it’s helped him come into his own in Year 5.
Allen’s post-up growth has been one of the clear reasons for his offensive uptick this season.
Allen is a gifted roller and lob threat, and we see that ability maximized in numerous situations throughout games in sequences with Darius Garland, whose chemistry with him on those plays leads to easy baskets frequently. I’m not discounting that, either, and Garland had several lob feeds to Allen and Mobley among his career-best 18-assist outing in a comeback win at the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday.
That said, as we mentioned, Allen’s improvements with his post game have opened up considerably more offensive opportunities for him this season. That’s after he showed some encouraging signs there last season after he was acquired via trade from the Brooklyn Nets.
This season, Allen has demonstrated great footwork on post-ups in games, where he’s been able to take advantage in generating better angles to either get lay-ins, or utilize pump fakes to gather for dunks or layups. He finishes through contact so well, and with either hand, and that’s led to his share of and-1s, as we know.
But the touch Allen has also displayed on-ball this season has been terrific, too, with a number of those from hook shots operating in post-up scenarios or after he’s simply established early seals in set offense. On the year, he’s converted on 54.2 percent of his hook shot attempts this season, with that shot type constituting the third-most attempts for him in terms of frequency this year at 22.9 percent, per NBA.com’s shooting data.
The touch, timing and fakes from the Fro in those plays have helped him be more versatile as a finisher inside the paint, feasibly from about 8-9 feet in, and it’s made him much more difficult to account for for opposing bigs. And with both hands, he’s continued to be very effective with those plays.
In addition to the power and hooks, Allen at times using drop steps and reverse pivots, mixed in with those fakes has enabled him to get to quality looks in the post as well at times in games, leading to great offense for Cleveland.
Moreover, while we know what he brings on the defensive end, and as a play finisher/roller, the Fro has also shown significant post-up growth this season. That’s been a key reason why he’s clearly taken the next step as an offensive player and crucial interior presence for the Wine and Gold, with improvements on push shots in that realm, too.
The volume is not necessarily huge, but it’s been a decent amount for himself, and in those post-up scoring situations, he’s placed in the 87th percentile, per Synergy Sports, on a frequency of 14.0 percent.
It’s just been a pleasure to see Allen get progressively better and more comfortable with the Cavs, and he has a real All-Star case.