The bubble experience has been one to forget for most of the Memphis Grizzlies and their fans. Ja Morant and Brandon Clarke have had their moments while De’Anthony Melton took six games to finally show up. Dillon Brooks has been horrendous (minus the regular season finale) with Kyle Anderson not trailing too far behind. One player, however, has made the most of the bubble:
During his 8 game run in Orlando, Grayson has averaged 28 minutes and 12.8 points on 47% shooting from deep. Let’s look at how his breakout compared to the rest on the NBA in the bubble:
Allen shot 6.9 threes per game and ranked 5th in the entire NBA in 3P% amongst players that attempted 6 or more threes per game. Only one of the four players ahead of Allen is also a bench player, Gary Trent Jr., who shot 52.6% on 8.1 attempts per night. The other three players ahead of Grayson were:
Joe Harris: 57.6% on 6.6 attempts
T.J. Warren: 52.4% on 7 attempts
Paul George: 50% on 8 attempts
Thats some incredible company to be in. In reality, Joe Harris will be a bench piece for Brooklyn going forward, but in the bubble he has started every game he has been in. Trent Jr. — and Grayson for that matter— would obviously come down to earth over the course of 82 games, but it is clear these two players worked on their games during the hiatus.
Allen the Scorer
The narrative may quickly become that Allen is just a shooter, and if you just look at raw stats it may be fair to assume that due to the fact that he shot over twice as many threes as two’s (51 to 24) during these 8 games.
The Memphis Grizzlies lead the Association in points in the paint, and it is due in large part to the floater. This is Brandon Clarke’s patented shot that led him to be one of the most efficient rookies in the history of the league. It is a shot that Ja Morant has proven to be a lethal part of his arsenal. Tyus Jones is a maestro of sweet string music with his floater. But don't overlook Allen.
Grayson’s overall FG% for the seeding games was 50.6% on 9 shots per games. Among wing players that shot 9 shots per game, Allen ranks 9th in the entire NBA. Of those 9, Allen ranks 4th amongst bench players:
Alec Burks: 57% on 9.3 attempts
Tyler Herro: 53% on 11.9 attempts
Trent Jr.: 52.6% on 11.1 attempts
T.J. Warren, James Harden, DeMar DeRozan, Joe Harris, and Duncan Robinson were the only other wing players to score at a better clip in the bubble. Again, thats impressive company for Allen to keep. This is only an 8 game sample out of 38 total games he has played this season, but Allen was rested and healthy. As a sophomore in the league he had 3 months to improve his game and his body, which he seemingly did.
Bench Scorer of the Future
For years and years, the Memphis Grizzlies have longed for that player that can come off the bench and shoot at a high clip. On his injury-shortened season, Grayson has become the first player in Grizzlies history with 0 starts and 40% shooting from 3 on at least 3.5 attempts per game. THE FIRST IN FRANCHISE HISTORY.
Only five other players in franchise history have seasons with 40% shooting on 3.5 attempts:
Wayne Selden: 2017-18 40.2%
Wesley Person: 2002-03 43.3%
Michael Dickerson 1999-00 40.9%
Mike Conley Jr: 2016-17 40.8% on 6.1 attempts
06-07 40.6% on 7.1 attempts
07-08 43.2% on 5.1 attempts
For what it’s worth, Mike Miller is the only true sharpshooter in team history. His 05-06 season and Selden’s season are the only bench seasons over 40% shooting. Not even Troy Daniels, who many believe is the best bench shooter the Grizzlies had, reached that mark.
Allen is under team control for two more seasons before he enters restricted free agency, meaning he could be a Grizzly for anywhere from the next 2 to 6 years. He is a high IQ scorer/playmaker who has some room to grow on defense. He has yet to reach his prime and just proved in Orlando he can be a valuable rotation piece.
In the bubble, Grayson was a 50-40-90 player, converting on 50% of his field goals overall, 40% of his threes, and 90% of his free throws (in only 10 attempts - again, small sample size). That is an unrealistic pace to expect a third year bench player to maintain over the course of an entire season. But Allen’s opportunities to shoot open 3’s will be effected by his ability to score off the dribble. If he was not a threat to drive or create for his teammates (if he was one-dimensional), teams could gameplan to take him away. A triple-threat skill set allows him to be a vital piece for a team growing into their contending window.
The Tyus Jones injury paved a way for Grayson to prove himself in Orlando and he has done either one of two things. He has either equipped the front office with another attractive trade piece to find a starting caliber two guard, or he has carved himself a role going forward regardless of what happens with De’Anthony Melton’s pending free agency.
The Memphis Grizzlies, in their offseason of finessing last year, might have stumbled upon the next scoring bench player of the future.