Jarrett Allen is Ahead of Schedule

The Brooklyn Nets drafted Jarrett Allen with the 22nd pick with the expectation that he would be a long-term project. While Allen still has a lot of room to grow, his performance so far this year has dramatically exceeded expectations.

The Brooklyn Nets should have expected next to nothing this season from Jarrett Allen. The rookie big man, taken with the 22nd overall pick in the 2017 draft, will still be a teenager at the end of the regular season. In his one season at Texas, Allen showcased his raw athleticism but struggled to score or defend consistently even at the college level. Before the start of the season, Allen probably expected to spend more time with the Long Island Nets than the Brooklyn Nets.

Instead of falling into line with what most people expected from him, Jarrett Allen has been a consistent part of Brooklyn's rotation. Furthermore, he has arguably been the team's best center. While Allen still makes many of the mistakes associated with young big men, he is already contributing on both ends of the floor; Allen racked up his first career double-double on January 23, and still seems to be on the upswing. Jarrett Allen still has a long way to go before he reaches his ceiling, but his rookie season is already dramatically exceeding expectations.

Rim Wrecking and Rim Protecting

Jarrett Allen's athletic gifts were hard to miss even before he entered the NBA. Allen's 7'5" wingspan, incredible lateral mobility at his size, and leaping ability stood out at the college level, and still stands out even in the NBA. At this point in his career, most of Allen's offense comes directly from that athleticism. While that will change over time, he is already adept at converting when he gets near the basket. He also does not try to do more than he can on that end of the floor, and it shows through in his efficiency; Allen ranks in the 65th percentile in points per possession according to Synergy Sports.

Allen takes 64.2% of his shots in the restricted area and converts 64.3% of those looks per NBA.com. The young big man will undoubtedly bulk up over time, which will give him more opportunities to gain post position and will allow him to finish more effectively through contact. That being said, he can still finish through contact just fine on occasion:

Allen has already improved his offensive game over the course of the season, as he continues to get better at picking his spots on that end of the floor. Allen's True Shooting Percentage has increased dramatically since the start of the season; his pitiful 45.5% showing in October pales in comparison to his elite 67.3% mark in January (Clint Capela currently leads the league among qualified players with a True Shooting Percentage of 67%).

While Allen's offensive growth has been encouraging, his biggest contributions have come on the defensive end. Allen struggles with foul trouble (as most young big men do) but is already a ferocious rim protector. His block rate ranks in the 73rd percentile among the league's big men per Cleaning the Glass. Opposing offenses wilt when trying to face Allen near the rim. Allen is holding opponents to just 51.5% shooting within six feet of the rim, a full 10.8% worse than their average.

Jarrett Allen is still only 19 years old and is still growing into his sizable frame. However, his future potential understates just how effective he already is. Allen is already one of the league's defenders near the rim, and he is starting to grow on the offensive end. Given his already impressive rookie season, Jarrett Allen could become a regular member of the starting lineup early than almost anyone would have anticipated.

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