Prior to the pandemic and the Bubble in Orlando, Grayson Allen had never been on a losing roster in his collegiate or professional career. Sure, he was not contributing much to Utah’s playoff run in his rookie season, but 10 minutes per game is more than being relegated to the end of the bench or the G League. He’s averaged 18 and 21 minutes per game for Memphis in his season and half here, so he is getting the opportunity to contribute, and he is taking advantage of it.
Bubble Grayson was its own unique experience. With the injuries heading into this season, a wing spot was open in the starting lineup and Allen was afforded the first crack at it. Through his first seven games this was his line:
3.6 points, 2 assists, 2.3 rebounds in 20 minutes per game on 26% from deep and 25% from the field.
Flat out awful. It was starting to feel like the Bickerstaff-Shelvin Mack relationship where JB played Mack way more than fans understood. With Desmond Bane and De’Anthony Melton on the roster, no one could really understand why Coach Jenkins was so stuck on playing Grayson heavy minutes.
Then came January 8th against the Brooklyn Nets. Grayson scored 10 points in 22 minutes, and while that might not scream amazing, he did it efficiently and within a role. If the Grizzlies were ever in a position that they needed Grayson Allen to score 20 a night to win, then there are a lot bigger problems at hand.
In the 5 game stretch including that Brooklyn game, his stat line was:
15 points, 2 assists, 3.9 rebounds in 24 minutes per game on 48% from deep and 48% from the field.
The main difference? He was coming primarily off the bench. There really was never an argument that Grayson is a long-term starting option for a competitive team, but there is an even more interesting stat about his contribution to winning.
There are seven lineups for the Memphis Grizzlies that are positive Net100 (possessions) with 10 or more minutes played.
- Allen/Bane/Dieng/Melton/Tillman +57.7 in 12:51 played
- Bane/Brooks/Clarke/Jones/Valanciunas +27.2 in 13:17 played
- Allen/Brooks/Clarke/Frazier/Valanciunas +24.3 in 12:28 played
- Allen/Anderson/Brooks/Morant/Valanciunas +20.5 in 35:03 played
- Allen/Anderson/Bane/Melton/Tillman +20.5 in 17:56 played
- Anderson/Brooks/Clarke/Morant/Tillman +17.1 in 29:47 played
- Bane/Brooks/Clarke/Jones/Tillman +12 in 15:19 played
Four of the five most productive lineups the Memphis Grizzlies have rolled out this year feature Grayson Allen, more than any other player on the team. The misconception about Grayson is that he is or should be just a spot up shooter. He always been more than that — he won the McDonalds All American Slam Dunk contest in high school.
His Bubble performance stood out, because he was emptying the clip from distance at an alarming rate, but Allen can finish at the rim and create for others as well. He is even more hated on for his “poor defensive play.”
Let’s do a player comparison of on/off stats according to Basketball Reference:
- Player A: On Court: Team Offensive Rating - 105.9, Team Defensive Rating- 106.3 (-.4)
Off Court: Team Offensive Rating - 111.8, Team Defensive Rating- 109.5 (+2.3)
- Player B: On Court: Team Offensive Rating - 112, Team Defensive Rating- 107.4 (+4.6)
Off Court: Team Offensive Rating - 105.8, Team Defensive Rating- 107.7 (-1.9)
First argument will be that context matters, because these players have different defensive responsibilities. But this stat takes into account what the entire team does while the player is on the floor and not just his individual box +/- that would not reflect accurate context.
Based on blind resumes, it is quite obvious that Player B, which is obviously Grayson Allen because this is who the piece is about, contributes to winning at a higher level than Player A. Player A is much beloved/maligned Dillon Brooks — the one and only.
This is not a call to have Grayson replace Dillon Brooks as a full-time starter. This is simply an education time for those that have overlooked the impact of Grayson Allen, because he is less erratic than the incumbent starter at his same position.
Regardless of your personal opinion, Grayson Allen is the best wing option off the bench for Memphis due to the combination of positive playmaking and consistent scoring ability. He is an above average defender who can and has defended 1-4 spots on the floor. He delivers win called upon and never takes a play off.
The Grayson Allen effect is real.