Jarrett Allen had been on the receiving end of a lot of grief from fans this offseason. Losing to the New York Knicks in the first round of the playoffs was not an ideal way to end last season. Watching Jarrett Allen get pushed around by the Knicks front-court in Mitchell Robinson and Isaiah Hartenstein did not make it any better. Allen inadvertently turned himself into a meme with his “the lights were brighter than I expected” comment in regards to the Cavs’ loss in the postseason.
Despite all that noise and chatter, despite the constant trade rumors, despite fans and analysts claiming Cleveland would be better off without Allen, the big man still finds a way to show everyone just how integral he is to this Cavs defense and the team as a whole.
Cleveland has been on a mission to improve their shooting and lean more into an offensive mindset this year, as seen by the additions made this summer. Their true identity can still be found within their frontcourt. Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen are perhaps one of the best front-court duos in the league. There are certainly better centers in the NBA, but the role Allen plays for the Cavs is a crucial aspect of the team as a whole.
Last year Jarrett Allen averaged 14.3 points, 1.7 assists, and 9.8 rebounds per game. Putting up a near double-double in points and rebounds last year, Allen managed to dominate in the paint and protect the rim against opponents. This year, in his first two games back, he looks to be on track to continue the trend. So far Allen has averaged 11.0 points, 1.5 assists, and 8.0 rebounds per game this year.
With the addition of Max Strus, the Cavs can expect some more floor spacing to work with. Having a knockdown shooter like Strus gives the other Cavaliers more opportunities to play off of him and get themselves open. Jarrett Allen is a serious vertical threat, and with Strus in the starting lineup, the big man can make the most of the spacing.
Fans should pay extra mind to Jarrett Allen throughout the month of November. Cleveland’s defensive rating should trend upward as Allen and Mobley continue to start together. Three things to watch out for Jarrett Allen throughout the remainder of the games this month are more vertical dominance in the paint, elevated rim protection and defensive rebounds.
Lastly, let’s pivot to a new role player in Cleveland. Fans can hope to see some improvement from this player after a subpar debut.