Jarrett Allen was a five-star high school recruit for Shaka Smart and the Texas Longhorns. While the season didn’t go as planned for Texas, finishing with an 11-22 record, Allen closed out the year strong and remains a first round NBA talent. He doesn’t have ideal size for a center at just 6-10, but his 7-5 wingspan and 9-2 standing reach certainly help. While at Texas, Allen was often forced to play out of position as a power forward alongside another big man. Better spacing in the NBA should help emphasize his strengths.
Offensively, most of Allen’s work comes right around the rim. He’s active in transition, running the floor for high percentage finishes at the bucket. In the half-court, Allen is a reliable roll man off screens and hangs around the paint for lob chances. He made 58% of his shots inside the arc, using his length and creativity to finish at the rim. He also used his length to collect 3.0 offensive rebounds per game. Additionally, Allen is capable of playing in the post with his back to the basket. He has impressive footwork, touch and body control in post-up situations. He possesses a decent array of moves and is capable of hitting hook shots, up-and-unders and flashes of a turnaround jumper.
Allen does lack a certain level of versatility that’s important to have in the NBA today. He went 0-7 from three this season and only shot 56.4% from the free-throw line. His shooting form isn’t completely broken, but he doesn’t display much potential to be a threat from the perimeter. Where he does show flashes is with his face-up game in the mid-post. He’s mostly limited to straight drives at this stage, but developing a mid-range jumper or expanding his handle would open up the floor to help him score. Allen also lacks the strength and tough attitude to be a consistent force in the paint. He struggles to finish in traffic despite his length, often shying away from contact. He also doesn’t have a great feel for the game and fails to read defensive pressure. He had 84 turnovers compared to just 26 assists in 33 games.
Defensively, Allen has sky high potential but lacks the mentality to be a defensive anchor at this stage of his career. Considering his superb length, it’s disappointing he only averaged 1.5 blocks per game. He gets bullied down low by bigger post players that use their stronger bases to neutralize Allen’s reach. He does display some potential to contain the perimeter, but still needs to improve his technique and footwork. Allen also struggles to grab defensive rebounds, as he averaged just 5.4 per game, a poor number for a center. Allen hasn’t yet displayed the awareness or mentality to use his tools and become a useful defender.
Jarrett Allen can be quite frustrating as a prospect. He has impressive physical tools but is still mostly just a project at this stage. He can provide offense with his rim running and post game, but he may not have the toughness to score much in the NBA. Allen should look to improve his mid-post game to open up the floor for him. Better spacing at the next level should help, but he needs to be able to knock down mid-range shots to force defenses to respect him away from the paint. Also, he needs to be better at using his length to protect the rim. Allen needs to prove he can be more versatile, especially in today’s small-ball dominant NBA.