In advance of the 2017 NBA Draft, Peachtree Hoops will be breaking down a wide variety of players that could be available for the Atlanta Hawks at either No. 19 or No. 31 (er, No. 41). The series will stretch throughout the month of June and today’s post breaks down Texas freshman Jarrett Allen.
Jarrett Allen entered his career with the Texas Longhorns as a five-star prospect that was widely expected to jump to the NBA after just one season. After a slow start in Austin, Allen came on in a big way during Big 12 play and, as a result, he is considered a “lock” as a first-round pick that could, at least in theory, be selected at the end of the lottery.
Allen isn’t a “stretch” big man by any means but that does not indicate a pure lack of skill. At 6’11 with a 7’6 wingspan, Allen possesses the length and athleticism that any NBA team would love to have and his hands are quite impressive for a player of his age. Allen was not a good free throw shooter (56 percent) but his stroke isn’t broken and there is the potential for a reliable mid-range jumper in the future.
At this point, Allen doesn’t pass exceedingly well and his decision-making isn’t ideal offensively. That is only a concern if that is an expectation at the next level but, given his defensive package, Allen can certainly function as a pick-and-roll finisher that isn’t asked to overdo it offensively unless he shows real development in a few areas.
The one-and-done big man displays off-the-charts athleticism and length to go with evolving feel for the game. With that said, he isn’t a finished product on the defensive end.
Allen’s rebounding numbers were fine but not spectacular and they frankly should have been better at the college level. Questions about his motor exist in part for this reason and, even as a rim protector, Allen wasn’t always as dominant as he should have been. That leads to some concern about his overall attentiveness and the big question is whether he can put it all together.
If he does, though, the sky is the limit defensively. Allen isn’t necessarily a transcendent athlete with his quickness but it is more than enough at the center spot given his length and burst. He’ll need to add strength and acumen but the potential is tantalizing.
Fit for the Atlanta Hawks
The Hawks need youth, athleticism and length in the future at the center position. Allen checks those boxes. Ideally, Atlanta would be able to find that player with a bit more polish and skill on the perimeter but, in the mid-to-late first round, that isn’t an available option most of the time.
Allen’s defensive upside would be scary under Mike Budenholzer and he is very young (doesn’t turn 20 until April) at this point. Keeping offensive expectations in perspective would be important but he might be the best overall player available depending on how the board shakes out before No. 19.
Jarrett Allen isn’t a perfect prospect. There are more polished/skilled offensive players available in the first round and it is conceivable (given his rebounding issues at Texas) that prospects with “safer” defensive profiles exist. In the same breath, Allen’s combination of both is very intriguing and his skill set would be a value at No. 19 overall.
There is certainly a chance that Allen is off the board but, if not, the Hawks should seriously consider investing in the pick in his development.