Even post-Mitchell trade, Allen’s offense can keep progressing for Cavs

Jarrett Allen, Cleveland Cavaliers. Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images
Jarrett Allen, Cleveland Cavaliers. Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images /

Last season was a banner one for Cleveland Cavaliers big Jarrett Allen, who had career-bests in points and rebounds per game with 16.1 and 10.8.

He was one of the primary reasons for the Cavaliers’ defensive turnaround, too, and looking onward, him and Evan Mobley are a heck of a defensive duo.

Now, the Cavs weren’t the same last season when either were at times injured, such as down much of the closing stretch for Allen. Those two are undoubtedly Cleveland’s defensive stalwarts, and others such as Isaac Okoro, Dean Wade and Lamar Stevens all can aid that end for Cleveland.

Pertaining to Allen here, though, his offensive growth was notable last season, his first full year with the Cavaliers. His post footwork, hook and push shot touch were examples of that growth, and he should be able to build on that some in coming years.

That said, after Cleveland’s trade for Donovan Mitchell, it is apparent than Allen’s offensive role could be impacted to some extent. I’d expect his traditional production offensively to come down somewhat, and that’s with others still in the fold, too.

Despite the Mitchell deal and there possibly being some less offensive looks in theory, Allen’s offensive development should continue to make strides.

Allen should continue onward in his offensive development for the Cavs, even with the Mitchell trade and other guys involved.

We know Allen is going to be a terrific finisher in off-ball situations, as a roller, and is more than capable of getting his share of putbacks from working to get position for that, and his vertical athleticism pays dividends.

I’m well aware that Allen, conversely, is still not likely going to be having the on-ball looks of Darius Garland, Mitchell or even Mobley, who still seems poised for a Year 2 offensive leap. Mobley has seemingly been working extensively on his shot creation/perimeter shooting throughout the offseason, too, and combined with his passing, I’d expect him to level up on that end.

However, even taking all of that into consideration, and with others in the fold, Allen can still progress on offense in rounding out his game. Last season, he again was among the game’s best interior finishers, and was second in field goal percentage at 67.5 percent, to that point.

His cutting impact, offensive rebounding and his pick-and-roll roll man work in tandem with Garland led to a steady dose of dunks and plays right at the rim where he’s so effective with his power and athleticism.

Beyond that, though, Allen demonstrated marketed improvement as a post-up presence, where his push and hook shot play was very fruitful for him, and this upcoming season, he should be able to keep progressing in those areas. Allen converted on 52.8 percent of his 127 hook shot attempts last season, per NBA.com’s shooting data; those constituted the third-most of his shot types, aside from dunks and layups.

And off that, he displayed some face-up ability to counter those plays.

Against opposing bigs in face-up situations, he demonstrated he can create at times from drives through gaps on occasion, and did can some mid-range looks there and there off-the-catch, which could be a shot type to build on. The volume was absolutely not a considerable amount of looks, but Allen going 16-of-30 on mid-range attempts last season, per NBA.com’s shooting data, was encouraging, in that realm.

So, while I could foresee Allen’s overall offensive production decreasing a bit, just based on the Mitchell trade acquisition, Mobley’s Year 2 potential leap, and others feasibly, this doesn’t mean Allen’s growth skill-wise should be stunted.

He’ll of course be Cleveland’s defensive anchor and key communicator, and his screening and interior finishing will be significant, but entering his sixth season, I’d expect he continue to make strides in fine-tuning his offense.

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The dude is still just 24 and is fresh off an All-Star campaign.