When the Cleveland Cavaliers got involved in the massive James Harden trade in January of 2021 and acquired big man Jarrett Allen, fans were pleased that the team had acquired someone who could protect the rim and rebound at a high level.
In 51 games with Cleveland that year, he averaged 13.2 points, 9.9 rebounds and 1.4 blocked shots per game.
This past season, Allen boosted his production, putting up 16.1 points on 67.7 percent shooting from the field, 10.8 rebounds and 1.3 blocks a contest.
That production earned him his first trip to the NBA All-Star Game.
At age 24, some Cavs fans may think he could get to the next level and become more of an offensive threat.
Is that a real hope for Allen, or has he already reached his peak on that end of the floor?
A Look At Allen’s Offensive Game
Allen has become a presence in the paint for the Cavs, as he is a very strong finisher who has major hops.
He is a threat on lob passes and off dribble penetration, and Darius Garland has started to make a living off getting him the ball on such plays for easy layups and dunks.
Gathering film for a Jarrett Allen thread (SOON)… but man, becomes more impressive everytime I look back on it what Garland & Allen did with the spacing they had last season.
DG’s handle/footwork/manipulation… magical stuff. pic.twitter.com/w7Hz2AbrG9
— Brayden Todd (@BraydenBallin) July 27, 2022
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) November 13, 2021
Allen also runs the floor well, which gives him more opportunities for easy baskets at or near the rim.
His ability to rebound with the best of them also gives him ample opportunities for second-chance points, many of which come within the vicinity of the rim.
100 seconds of Jarrett Allen’s skill to prove he’s not a dunk merchant. pic.twitter.com/dwhEbYjBwL
— 𝙃𝙨𝙜𝙫𝙚𝙣𝙨 (@HsgvensSon) March 21, 2022
He is clearly more than a defensive role player who can only score off garbage plays.
The Big Thing Holding Allen Back
In today’s NBA, when a big man doesn’t have a great low-post or one-on-one game, for him to become an offensive star, he must have a strong outside jump shot.
Unfortunately, Allen has never been the type of player who takes shots outside of the paint.
For his career, he has attempted only 3.6 percent of his shots from 10-16 feet, 1.4 percent of his shots from 16 feet out to the 3-point line and 3.9 percent of his shots from 3-point land.
This past season, those figures were at 4.6, 1.8 and 1.8 percent, respectively.
After five seasons in the NBA, it seems unlikely Allen will ever become even an average jump shooter.
In addition, 73.4 percent of his 2-point shots in the 2021-22 season were assisted on, which is indicative of a player who doesn’t have outstanding low-post or one-on-one offensive skills.
It Looks Like Allen Is Who He Is Offensively
Moving forward, the Cavs’ big priority on their frontline is Evan Mobley, who seems to have superstar potential, especially on the offensive end.
He and Garland are currently the team’s two big offensive stalwarts, and if Collin Sexton returns, he could be its third option.
Up front, veteran Kevin Love also seems to be higher on the offensive pecking order than Allen.
It all adds up to Allen being asked to stay within his role rather than being expected to expand his game and take on a bigger workload.
Regardless, it’s a testament to his athletic ability, energy and work ethic that he was able to become an All-Star and average 16.1 points a game despite a highly polished offensive skill set.