Jarrett Allen is not a name familiar in the realm of casual NBA fandom.
But the 20-year-old second-year center is full of potential, an athletic 6-11 rim protector who cleans up the glass and has touch around the rim. Think DeAndre Jordan with a free-throw stroke.
But he’s tucked away with the Brooklyn Nets, so a lot of fans don’t know his name.
Jarrett Allen makes his presence known
That’s likely less of a problem after Tuesday.
The Los Angeles Lakers were in town, and less than two minutes into the game, LeBron James came barreling down the lane with a full head of steam.
Allen emphatically denies LeBron James
Allen positioned himself in his rightful spot as a shot blocker. Then he delivered, with no fear.
James came down hard with the dunk attempt, but Allen met the challenge at the rim with a clean denial that led to a fast break the other way for the Nets.
James makes excuses
The block had James delivering excuses after the game.
“He’s in his twenties, I’m in my thirties,” James told reporters. “It takes me a little longer to get warmed up, but that’s fine.”
It also set the tone for a 115-100 Nets win that extended Brooklyn’s winning streak to six games. The win streak was preceded by an eight-game losing streak and now has the Nets up to a respectable 14-18 record.
No downside for Allen
Allen, whose having a breakout campaign after a solid rookie season, saw the play as an opportunity, regardless of the outcome.
“Either way, you’re going to be on the highlight,” Allen said. “If you go up and you block it, you’re going to be on the highlight. You get dunked on, you’re going to be on the highlight. So just go up and protect the rim.”
Allen is one of the league’s best at protecting the rim, averaging 1.4 blocks per game. He’s also tallying 12.1 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 1.6 assists while shooting 59.6 percent from the floor and 73.6 percent from the line. The only thing missing from his game is a 3-point stroke, as he’s hit just 3-of-21 attempts this season.
The Nets selected Allen with the 22nd pick of the 2017 draft out of Texas as a raw prospect. He found his NBA form quickly and started 31 games as a rookie, earning the full-time starting job at center this season.
If you’re an NBA fan and his is a name you’re not familiar with, it’s time to get to know him.
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