Grayson Allen’s enormous step forward this season is almost dreamlike. The former five-star recruit and McDonald’s All-American went from being a shooter off the bench for last year’s championship-winning Duke Blue Devils to the starting lineup in just one season and has answered the bell tremendously and thus skyrocketed his NBA Draft stock.
Originally from Jacksonville, Allen went from posting 4.4 points in 9.2 minutes per game last season to being the star of the team. He leads Duke with 21 points per game and has seen his minutes go up to 35.5 per contest. Allen’s percentages have also been spot on, as he has made 49 percent of his shots from the field and is also shooting 43 percent from three-point range. On paper, he certainly does seem like a decent enough draft prospect.
However, as always, there’s a catch, or in this case a few. Allen is only a sophomore and has yet to even declare for the draft. Moreover, Duke is starting to heat up as it looks to defend its championship with the tournament just a few weeks away. The question thus presents itself: will Allen take advantage of rising draft stock (22.8 PPG, 47.6 FG%, 41.2 3P% over his last five games) and turn pro early, or will he follow in the footsteps of former Duke greats Christian Laettner, Shane Battier and others and stay in school?
Regarding his stock at this point, it’s right where one would expect a pure 2-guard’s from the ACC to be in that the opinion on it is relatively split. NBADraft.net has Allen going 15th overall to the Utah Jazz in its latest mock, while DraftExpress pegs him as going 29th to the San Antonio Spurs.
Which brings the conversation to one key factor. Of Allen’s 13.4 shot attempts per game, 5.2 come from three-point range. Not for nothing, but that screams one word: shooter. Granted, Allen is far from just that but given the pace of play in the ACC, it certainly raises a slight red flag regarding how well he’ll be able to adjust to the slower pace of the NBA.
But the reality of the matter is that regardless of how one may feel about Allen, his stock is going to keep on rising so long as Duke keeps playing well. He’ll need to diversify his game just a little more if he wants to up his stock accordingly but given his overall skill set as it is, whichever team drafts him could certainly do a lot worse.
*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports