Looking for bolstered wing production and playmaking, the Utah Jazz got the guy they had their sights set on in Duke’s Grayson Allen.
Allen scored 1,996 points in his 142 career games, good enough for 12th in Duke history. He shot nearly 40 percent from deep, 43 percent from the field and 83.4 percent from the charity stripe. He can undoubtedly put the ball in the cylinder, but that’s far from all he does. One of only five Blue Devils with 1,900 points, 400 rebounds and 400 assists in his career, Allen joins an impressive list alongside the likes of Grant Hill, Jon Scheyer, Danny Ferry and Johnny Dawkins.
With the 21st pick in the draft, the Jazz brought in a guy who can contribute immediately. His shooting and off-ball offensive skillset should work well within the Jazz system.
A versatile scorer, capable defender and true “motor guy,” Allen’s gritty and polished play-style fits right in with current Jazz personnel – something Jazz brass saw from the start.
“It’s what we saw live in a four year period and on video… then you get someone in here and see their skill,” Jazz GM Dennis Lindsey said.
Lindsey was also asked about Allen’s on-court antics and character concerns.
“We’re confident in his intelligence. We’re confident that he was contrite for the mistakes that he made in the past,” Lindsey added. “With that said, [Allen] and I were totally on the same page, we don’t want that fire that’s been burning, that competitiveness to go anywhere…. we’re very confident in who he is.”
Allen himself weighed in on it as well. “I don’t think it’ll take long to win over fans,” Allen said. “When fans see me night in and night out on the court. When they see the love that I have for the game, the passion I have for the game and how much I want to represent the Utah Jazz I think it’ll happen very quickly. It’s a lot different watching a guy play night in and night and give his all than it is to see the same three clips replayed for the last three years. It’s something that has to be earned, but I think when I get out there and play with that competitive fire and passion, they’ll respect it.”
That competitiveness Lindsey talks about is something that would be valuable to a basketball program at any level. The thing about Grayson is that he’s going to be full-speed, up-tempo all the time. He’s going to push his teammates in practice, offseason and he’s going to get every ’50-50’ ball he has a chance at.
If you need more reassurance about this selection, look no further than last years first round pick Donovan Mitchell, who competed against Allen in the ACC.
“Adding a guy like him, an elite scorer, great defender who plays unselfish. We got a good one and we’re excited,” Mitchell said.
According to Lindsey, Donovan had a little input on the draft pick as well. Lindsey received the following text message from Donovan after competing with Allen at a summer training session. “Grayson at 21?”
Allen has a fairly polished game after a long career at Duke, but something that excites the Jazz is his potential to develop further and work into a role on the roster.
IF Allen can come in and contribute right away, take offensive pressure off of Mitchell, do the things the Jazz think he’s capable of and keep his cool on the court – it will have been a win for the Jazz with the 21st overall pick.
Next, the Jazz will turn their attention towards free agency and, according to Lindsey, hope to retain Dante Exum, Derrick Favors and Raul Neto.
Utah Jazz Summer League tips off on Monday, July 2 and will welcome the San Antonio Spurs, Memphis Grizzlies and Atlanta Hawks to Salt Lake City.