ESPN’s Tim Bontemps recently appeared on The Hoop Collective podcast and explained how Allen being sidelined because of his bone bruise could be a blessing in disguise for the Cavaliers.
“I’m gonna actually play devil’s advocate slightly in that while Jarrett Allen is obviously a super important player, as we know, as people who listen to the pod know,” Bontemps said. “He was the MVP of the league last year as Brian [Windhorst] repeatedly indicated. I think this could be a bit of a blessing in disguise for the Cavs because, as we know, there’s a lot of pressure on Cleveland this year, lot of pressure to win, lot of pressure on a lot of fronts with the Cavs. And I do think one of the possible downsides of that was that I don’t know if Evan Mobley was necessarily gonna get the opportunity to operate in some more space offensively and have the ball in his hands more and do some more stuff that they really need, I think, for him to take the next step as a player and for them to eventually take another step forward overall as a team.”
Allen was selected with the No. 22 overall pick by the Brooklyn Nets in the 2017 NBA Draft after spending one season playing college basketball at the University of Texas at Austin. He averaged 13.4 points, 8.4 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game in 33 games played with the Longhorns during the 2016-17 season.
The 6-foot-9 big man has played for two teams — the Nets and Cavaliers — across his six seasons in the NBA. He averaged 14.3 points, 9.8 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.2 blocks per game while shooting 64.4 percent from the field in 68 appearances with the Cavaliers during the 2022-23 regular season.
Allen also converted 73.3 percent of his free-throw attempts in the 2022-23 regular season.
Unfortunately for Cavaliers fans, the big man wasn’t able to carry over his excellent two-way play during the 2022-23 regular season into Cleveland’s first-round playoff series against Jalen Brunson, Julius Randle and the New York Knicks. He averaged just 9.4 points, 7.4 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.0 block per game for the series, and New York eliminated Cleveland in five games.
Allen arguably got outplayed by Knicks big man Mitchell Robinson in the first-round series. Robinson averaged 8.0 points, 9.8 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per game during the five-game series.
Cavaliers fans should be excited to see how Mobley performs during the preseason with Allen sidelined. Hopefully the ball will be in Mobley’s hands on the offensive end quite a bit, as while he’s best known for his defensive chops, he is also a very skilled offensive player for his size.