How will Tony Allen fare this year?
Tony Allen is known for one thing: defense. Which is fortunate, because that’s what this Grizzlies’ team is based around, but with this year’s reshaped roster, how will Memphis utilize Allen?
The Grizzlies’ problems last year were on the offensive side of the ball, and similarly, that’s where Allen struggles as well. He doesn’t have much of a long range jumper, so if he is going to score, he will generally need to get close to the hoop. This is a problem because it limits the Grizzlies’ ability to spread the floor, and clogs the lane which leaves little room for the Memphis big men to operate. Is there a way to offset Allen’s lack of offensive ability with other players on this roster? There should be, and it mostly has to do with the off-season acquisition of Vince Carter.
Who is on the floor at the same time this year will be key to how well Memphis does on offense. There will clearly be certain combinations that work better than others, so who will Tony Allen fit alongside? That brings us back to our off-season pickup, Mr. Vince Carter. Carter might be older, but he can score. He can spread the floor and make defenders pay if they leave him alone on the wing. If Carter can provide a solid offensive output while on the floor, this should help offset TA’s lack of shooting.
So Allen should play well alongside VC, but who should he not be on the floor with at the same time? Tayshaun Prince. Allen and Prince should rarely, if ever be on the floor at the same time. Prince is nowhere near the player that he used to be, and his offense has dropped of tremendously. Neither Allen nor Prince can score well, and this would allow defenders to drop off of the perimeter and clog the paint down low. This would clearly be a problem, so an Allen-Prince combination probably wouldn’t be terribly effective. When Prince is on the floor, he would be better suited to play alongside Courtney Lee, since Lee is a better scorer than Allen. The best SG-SF combinations look to be Allen-Carter and Lee-Prince.
So looking back at Allen–Tony is going to do what he always does–provide heart, hustle, and great defensive play. Fighting off age and staying quick on his feet will be important in the upcoming seasons, but he is athletic enough that it shouldn’t be an issue for awhile.
Tony Allen has been an integral part of this Memphis team for years, and he will continue to be so this season as well. His embodiment of the “Grit n’ Grind” mentality helps set the tone for this team to work hard and play trademark Memphis defense. Look for the Grizzlies to have a great season, and one thing is for sure–Tony Allen is going to be a big part of it.