It's a topic that has gained a lot of steam in the past 6 months as the Grizzlies still look for their small forward of the future -- and also the present, to be honest. So is the Grindfather the answer at the 3-spot next season?
I suppose it actually needs to be asked 2 ways: Can Tony Allen play substantial minutes (50%+ of the time) at small forward? And should Tony Allen play substantial time at small forward?
BluesCityJoe: Offensively, I'm not sure it matters whether Tony's a 2 or a 3. Defensively, I think Tony Allen can guard 3's. The only problem will be big 3's who go to post him up, and he's such a harassing player he may do fine at that too.
Know when Tony Allen's at his worst? When he guards schlubs who he doesn't think he needs to really guard. Jodie Meeks? Screw him, I'll wander over here and get me some steals. If I'm Dave Joerger, when I run TA out at the 3, I'd say, "Tony, I don't know if you can guard this guy, he's got 6 inches on you..." and then turn him loose.
Kevin Yeung: Absolutely he can. The difference between a SG and SF is a blurry line. The only thing that really matters is size (or being able to defend bigger perimeter players). Allen is short, but tough as nails and he can guard Kevin freaking Durant fine. As long as you put him with a wing that can shoot, you're fine most times.
Should he play SF? Well, he's better than Tayshaun Prince, but I still remember the trick-or-treat Allen of the regular season that preceded the postseason one that worked wonders on Durant so it's fair to ask how often he should be playing. Anyway, I'm partial to an Allen-Carter pairing in the starting lineup.
Adam Rubrum: Yes, Tony can play the 3. As everyone else said, if you can defend against Durant, you can probably defend against anyone. Like Joe, my only concern would be a 3 trying to post up on Tony. Even then, I would hope one of our two bigs should be in the paint to help him.
Should he? I believe so. I'm for starting Lee at SG and Tony at SF. Everyone loves Vince Carter, but I think we will need his offense with the 2nd unit. Either way, I'm really hoping that TA or VC starts this upcoming season. I'm not sold yet that Joerger won't start Prince. He had absolutely no reason to do it last year, yet kept throwing him out there game after game. This is the also the man who thought Ed Davis starting against Paul Prince was a good idea. So, it is really anyone's guess who will get the start at SF.
Trisity Miller: Yes. Despite the contrary belief that height matters, it doesn't in this case. I've mentioned this before, possibly not on GBB, but in one of my many Twitter rants, but the actual positional tag of small forward is meaningless. Guards. Wings. Bigs. TA falls into the wing category. He can defend them. Offensively it changes nothing. So yes, TA can play small forward.
Should he? Sure. It really comes down to how Joerger mixes and matches his wing combinations. If paired with Courtney Lee, Allen is the small forward. With Vince Carter or Quincy Pondexter? Shooting guard. A rare lineup featuring Allen and one of the young shooting guards? He's the small forward. With Tayshaun Prince--though I wish this never happens--Allen is the 2-guard.
What do you think?
Let us know in the comments below!