The Phoenix Suns traded for Grayson Allen in hopes that he would deliver shooting depth to a team that showed a glaring lack of it in last year’s playoffs.
Though Phoenix had plenty of shooting firepower at the top of its roster in star players Kevin Durant and Devin Booker, it lacked scoring punch outside of those dynamic scorers. Allen has provided that punch in a big way.
The 28-year-old shot 40.4% from deep in his two seasons with Milwaukee, and then landed in Phoenix via the Damian Lillard trade.
Already an established shooter, Allen now plays with some of the world’s best scorers – who undoubtedly top opposing team’s priority lists – meaning he’s finding a lot more space for shots than he’s used to.
While Allen was expected to be a good shooter in Phoenix, the level at which he is shooting the ball has been a shock for even the biggest Grayson Allen fans… do “big Grayson Allen fans” exist?
Allen has been nearly automatic from everywhere on the court; he’s shooting 50% on corner threes and 47% on non-corner threes according to Cleaning The Glass, plus 49.3% on catch-and-shoot threes according to NBA.com.
Together with Kevin Durant, they form one of the best shooting duos in the NBA. You probably did not expect to read that sentence this season.
Sure, the “top _ duo in the league” remark was said a little tongue-in-cheek, but Allen really is playing fantastic basketball through 16 games.
Controversial, But Very Talented
Grayson Allen’s on-court antics earned him a reputation as a dirty player during his otherwise illustrious career at Duke from 2014-2018. Allen had a propensity for tripping opponents. In fact, he tripped enough opposing players to warrant a YouTube compilation of them all, with over 3 million views.
That reputation followed him to the NBA – mostly through fault of his own, like when he yanked down Alex Caruso, resulting in Caruso breaking his wrist. Hence, Phoenix knew what they were getting in Allen, both the player and the person, and also knew that some fans wouldn’t be thrilled acquiring a player with a past like Allen’s.
Nevertheless, Phoenix went for it, and so far, the risk is paying off. Allen has provided exactly what Phoenix expected him to. Plus, he’s steered clear of any on-court scuffles, controversies or incidents that would put him back in the spotlight for the wrong reasons.
The Missing Piece?
Grayson Allen has already proven that he will be a valuable part of this year’s Suns team. But when Bradley Beal regains his heath and reenters the Suns rotation, there’s a chance Allen moves to a bench role.
That swap might come in handy once the postseason rolls around, because while the Suns do have talent on the bench – Jordan Goodwin, Nassir Little, Josh Okogie and Drew Eubanks have all been solid – none of those guys are pure shooters like Allen.
Role players who can step up and bring a spark to the second unit will always be valuable when the game slows down and defensive effort ratchets up.