Jarrett Allen has not been in action much yet for the Cleveland Cavaliers in this still-very early portion of the new campaign. Allen missed all of preseason leading into the year, and was pretty limited in Cavaliers training camp as he was getting back up to speed in relation to a bone bruise in his ankle.
Allen was able to gradually get healthier and he has since been back for Cleveland, but he was not involved in Cleveland’s first five games. He hasn’t been playing a typical allotment of minutes in his return yet, with the team still seemingly ramping up his minutes in time here, and that’d appear likely for some more upcoming contests.
That aside, it’s been meaningful for him to back in there, and he’s given the Cavs quality minutes.
In his three games played so far, Allen has had 12.0 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.0 blocks per contest. In what’s been an average workload of 25.0 minutes, he’s done nice work for the Wine and Gold.
Allen hasn’t again been playing say, 30-plus minutes to this point, and given how he’s been working his way back and with the recent prior injury in mind, that’s understandable. That aside, in coming games and weeks, he should gradually look more comfortable when he’s in there, and his timing as a cutter, lob threat and handoff player should improve. Maybe there will be some flashes from Allen in the mid-range area as well, where he is capable of making shots.
Allen hasn’t been getting a ton of opportunities, but he’s still given the Cavaliers a boost on the interior, as a post-up threat and on the offensive glass; Allen’s had a robust offensive rebounding rate of 15.1 percent so far, per NBA.com. And as he gets re-acclimated, he should be back to having a considerable defensive impact.
Cleveland has some things they have to sort out on that end of the floor, and while he’s still finding his footing on defense as well, he has still made some plays there and to a large degree, when Allen’s in, that can allow Evan Mobley to be more aggressive as a free safety-esque player and shot blocker.
The Wine and Gold have to iron out some things on that end, as was previously noted, but after a few more games under his belt, Allen should only help them there. Additionally, his defensive communication makes a big difference, and new guys such as Max Strus and Georges Niang should benefit from that from Allen.
Now, offensively, Allen will still need more reps to have better synergy with Donovan Mitchell again, and Darius Garland has had some trouble feeding bigs early on as he’s still getting his rhythm, however, Allen should be fine as he gets re-acclimated.
He’s not going to receive a ton of looks, necessarily, and also with Mobley starting to get on track, but the Mobley-Allen two-man game has shown encouraging signs early here, which is something that can carry forward as well, and that can help weak side shooters from there with Mobley’s vision. As Allen gets time with them, his chemistry should improve with Strus, also, for what it’s worth.
Overall, though it’s going to take some time for him to get comfortable and back to near-full tilt coming off the injury, thus far, Allen has done a pretty solid job. There’s still some questions about his fit with this iteration of the Cavs long term on offense, but he’s still valuable to this team, and his interior presence, defensive communication and smart play all can affect winning.
He didn’t play well in the playoffs last season, however, with more shooting for the Cavs now, provided they correct some things here in weeks and months to come, which they should, there’s reason to believe Allen can rebound in that setting.