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Stiffs NBA draft prospect watch: Jarrett Allen

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University of Texas’s Jarrett Allen is a physical specimen with raw talent

Legends Classic Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

The Denver Stiffs will be covering the top prospects for the Denver Nuggets in the 2017 NBA Draft in our Stiffs Prospect Watch series. Check back daily for video, stats, and analysis of top first round prospects.

Jarrett Allen

Stats

Points Rebounds Assists Steals Blocks Turnovers Field Goal % Three point % Free throw %
Points Rebounds Assists Steals Blocks Turnovers Field Goal % Three point % Free throw %
16.3 7.4 3.0 1.7 1.1 2.8 51.30% 37.80% 56.60%

Strengths

Physical tools & athleticism

Jarrett Allen is one of the most physically gifted players in this draft class. He stands 6’11” with an insane, 7’6” wingspan and a 9’2” reach. He is flat out long and lengthy with huge hands and great athleticism and mobility. Watching him workout beside Justin Patton, you could see the difference in reach and wingspan as Allen’s frame and long arms really stand out. He’s fairly fluid in the open court.

Defensive upside

Defensive upside is one of those phrases that is so popular when talking about NBA draft prospects. Like most of Allen’s strengths, it is the future potential and not the present product that is so intriguing. Allen has the body and mobility to be an elite defender but doesn’t necessarily have the mind or skill for it just yet. Still, that potential has real value. In addition to being an above the rim type athlete, he can move his feet on the perimeter which could lead to him being the rare inside/outside type defender that is increasingly valuable in today’s NBA. As it stands, he is a very good shot blocker and a decent rebounder.

Offensive upside

Allen probably won’t ever be a go-to scoring option but his physical tools make him a threat on rolls to the rim and on putbacks. His shooting motion during his workout in Denver looked average for a big man so there is hope that he can become at least an average set shooter in rare occasions that he’ll catch the ball at the elbows and be asked to knock down the shot.

Weaknesses

Very raw skill level

Allen is among the most raw talents in the draft which is either a good thing or a bad thing depending on his work ethic and ability to improve going forward. He doesn’t have great post moves, touch, feel, or awareness on offense. On defense, he gets lost a lot and falls out of position to contest shots and rebound. He shows flashes of competence with his shot, touch, and footwork but those flashes are few and far between.

Shies away from contact

He’s young enough that his aversion to contact is more due to his age and lack of strength than anything else but he will enter the NBA as fodder for strong, physical centers. In college he would get pushed under the basket for offensive rebounds. On rolls to the rim, the slightest amount of contact would throw off his confidence and focus. He’ll need to get more comfortable going up strong and embracing contact at the next level.

Fit with the Denver Nuggets

It would be a bit surprising if the Nuggets drafted a center, especially one that is so raw. But Allen has the physical tools that Nikola Jokic lacks, namely length, speed, and the ability to play above the rim. If he has the drive and work ethic to improve his game, he could be a nice defensive balance to Jokic that will come in handy down the road. As it stands now, I don’t see the Nuggets being interested in Allen. He’d likely ride the bench for a year while gaining NBA level strength and skill. With Mason Plumlee likely to re-sign, I just don’t think the Nuggets will use a first round pick on such a risky project.

Projected draft spot

SB Nation - 19

Draft Express - 18

CBSsports - 22 (Forgrave), 18 (Parish)

Sporting News - 15

Final Thoughts

I’m not a big fan of Jarrett Allen. He reminds me a lot of JaVale McGee in terms of skill set and body type. Like JaVale, Allen often looks awkward and unfocused on the court. Also like JaVale, Allen has a ton of upside. His reach and mobility alone make him an interesting lob target. His footspeed on defense makes him even more intriguing since there are only a couple of seven-footers that can switch pick and rolls and not look foolish.

Allen would be a nice gamble for a team with a d-league G-League team and plenty of time to wait for a prospect to develop. The Nuggets are already a very young roster with no d-league G-League team and probably don’t want to waste a roster spot on a guy that will likely take at least a year to gain NBA strength and another two or three years to develop reliable offensive skills. I tend to be a skeptic about raw centers developing into skilled players and Allen is as raw as the come.