Grayson Allen is the biggest enigma of the NBA draft pick



CHICAGO – Who is Grayson Allen? Is JJ Redick Duke's companion comparable in size to the one often asked of Allen? "I do not think JJ jumped 40 inches," Allen said, smiling, a wink at the 40½-inch vertical jump he recorded at the NBA's draft harvester on Thursday. Added one team staff executive: "They were both villains, but JJ was a guard of 2. I really think Grayson can play the point."

Who is Grayson Allen? Is it Jimmer Fredette? Like Allen, Jimmer was a four-year-old college player, a lethal scorer who entered the NBA considered a dangerous three-point shooter. "Night and day," said the executive. "Jimmer was a great scorer, but he was not a playmaker, he was not athletic and he could not defend himself, Grayson is a superior athlete, and his game has more dimensions."

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Who is Grayson Allen? Sitting at a small table, a thick crowd of media members fighting for position around him, Allen marked the skills that defined him. There are shots. "I know he can help a team," Allen said. Allen shot 38 percent from the 3-point range in his Duke career, turning them into a variety of ways: catch and shoot, dribble, use an escape dribbling. At Duke, there were not many ways that Allen could not do them.

There's a game. The biggest benefit of returning to Duke for his senior season, said Allen, was to reach further development as a point guard. Allen shared the duties of making plays with Trevon Duval last season, and his assists increased to his best career record of 4.6 per game.

"I was able to play with two big guys [Wendell Carter and Marvin Bagley III] with whom I could throw the ball," Allen said. "I got used to throwing a lot of balloons, I got used to finding handles, finding cutters, and every year at Duke I had to score in different places, I think that helped me a lot, that makes me more ready for [the NBA]. any situation ".

Grayson Allen talks to reporters in the NBA draft combination in Chicago. (AP)

There is your maturity. Allen knows his reputation: bad boy of the university basketball that shot his way to the suspension of a game in his junior season, whose dirty plays were immortalized in videos compiled on YouTube. Allen wants you to see beyond that.

"I want the teams to know me beyond what they see on the court," Allen said. "Not only what kind of player will they see on the court, but what kind of person [I am] in the locker room"

And that's it?

"I'm more of a quiet, relaxed, quieter guy off the field," Allen said. "I'm someone who really thinks about the game, who has an IQ about the game, who studies the game, who knows a lot more than running and jumping, who knows plays, rotations, offensive movements, all those different things."

Five weeks before the NBA draft and Allen stands as one of his most intriguing prospects. Opinions about his shooting range are, well, all over the place. One executive told Yahoo Sports that he saw Allen as a second-round pick. Another saw him in the range of 25 to 35. A third said that if he had the opportunity to recruit Allen in late adolescence, he would take it.

The rise or fall of Allen will not be based on anything he does in the harvester. As the profile of the event has increased, ESPN covers the combination with daily coverage, and almost 200 members of the media have credentials, their relevance has faded. Virtually none of the best players play. Deandre Ayton, a projected selection of the first three, skipped the event altogether. Team interviews offer executives who face time, but many admit that the 30-minute drive-by offers no more than a cursory glance at the life of a potential client.

"Really, they should take down the [scrimmages]" an executive from the Western Conference said. "Just make the measurements, do the physical exams and let the interviews be longer."

Allen will be interviewing this week, and he knows what will be a recurring theme. The well-informed tripping incidents at Duke have the attention of the NBA teams, and Allen will spend most of his time in a room full of executives who explain them.

"You have to tackle it, sure," Allen said. "It's something that comes from my competitiveness, the competitiveness that was pointed in the wrong direction and went down the line, obviously, it's something I needed to work on and tackle, it's something I've improved a lot."

Will the teams care? "For the most part, the teams do not care about [expletive] what happens at the university," said a GM from the Eastern Conference. They care to shoot. Does Allen's rank extend beyond the 3-point line? They care about the defense. Allen showed elite athletics this week, recording the second fastest time of the shuttle (3.4 seconds) and one of the best lane agility speeds (10.31 seconds) in the history of the combine. Will that help on the defensive side? "I'm not sure about that," said the general manager. "It's definitely a question with him."

And they care about leadership. Allen's incidents suggest that he has a problem controlling his emotions on the floor. An explorer who studied him last season says he saw something different. "What was more than a revelation to me was seeing him with his boys," said the explorer. "He's the only senior, he gathered the guys together, he kept the kids going, he patted them on the back, he was a leader, he was a breath, he was a good teammate."

Allen will tour the country in the coming weeks, showing his talents on the field and selling his intangibles. Who is Grayson Allen? More than half of the NBA is eager to discover it.

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