Brooklyn Nets

Sky is the limit for Brooklyn Nets rookie Jarrett Allen

Being selected No. 22 overall comes with some pressure, but for Jarrett Allen, the sky is the limit with the Brooklyn Nets’ young core.

Jarrett Allen out of the University of Texas is one of the youngest players ever to wear a Brooklyn Nets uniform. For many, the task is daunting, playing in the bright lights of New York City, putting on the black and white uniform and embodying a culture full of grit, hustle and high-character guys.

As much as we evaluate draft selections on pure talent alone, sometimes it’s the situation that makes us go “That was quite the draft pick, he’s going to shine in that system.”

For the Nets and Jarrett Allen, that was the mutual feeling. Both parties knew there was a lot to learn. For Allen, it’s about fitting in with Kenny Atkinson’s pace-and-space offense, learning how to run the floor and be that “lobs and blocks” player the Nets so desperately need.

For the Nets, it’s another young asset to add to their young core filled with Caris LeVert, Isaiah Whitehead, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and newly acquired point guard D’Angelo Russell. They know just as much as Jarrett Allen does that it’s a project, but in the eyes of ESPN draft expert Mike Schmitz, Allen could be that one pick that outshines his draft slot:

Upside: Allen is a physical specimen full of raw talent, yet it’s not clear what his exact role will be in the NBA. With measurements very similar to Clint Capela, Allen could act as a similar rim-runner, finisher and shot-blocker with switch potential. To go along with his go-go-gadget 7-5 wingspan and massive hands, Allen has natural touch and impressive agility for his size.”

Allen does have quite an impressive wingspan, showing it off before the draft with ESPN Sports Science, where he played the role of a soccer goalie. Allen was quick to judge ball direction, and use the length to his advantage, something the Nets are looking for in the interior: instinct.

Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

But, one major concern could be Allen’s passion for the game, as it’s been chronicled in the past that he doesn’t have the deep background that most of these prospects have. It’s something to definitely keep an eye on, especially with how the Nets foster community, team building and the love for creating a quality basketball product on and off the court.

Schmitz explains:

“Scouts have often questioned how much Allen actually loves basketball, which is one of the main reasons the top-10 talent fell to No. 22 overall. But Allen, who doesn’t come from a strong basketball background, grew at Texas as the season progressed and showed glimpses of the exact center NBA teams are looking for in today’s game.”

Despite the concerns, Jarrett Allen is walking into quite the perfect situation, one that doesn’t call for too much on day one, day two, or even day 200.

Allen and the Nets are taking the long-term approach here, making sure he gets the most out of his valuable time with Kenny Atkinson and his development-focused staff, as Schmitz describes:

Situation: Allen landed in a solid situation with the Nets. He’ll play under development-focused head coach Kenny Atkinson without too much pressure to put up big numbers early on. Going too high in the draft could have been a burden for Allen, and Atkinson should do a great job getting the most out of the big man, who has a tendency to float in and out of games at times.

“Timofey Mozgov is Brooklyn’s only other true center on the roster, and with the addition of D’Angelo Russell, Allen has a lob-thrower and pocket-passer to get him easy looks. Allen, who was forced to play a healthy amount of 4 at Texas, can focus on cutting, finishing around the rim, cleaning the offensive glass and developing into a legitimate rim-protector on the defensive end. There isn’t a ton of stress to win now in Brooklyn and Allen should be able to play through mistakes without losing confidence early in his career.”

Jarrett Allen may in fact spend some time with the Nets’ G League affiliate, the Long Island Nets, this season, but knows there’s a ton of potential to succeed in Brooklyn.

Allen will have plenty of opportunities with a currently thin Nets frontcourt, with Timofey Mozgov being the only other true big man on the Nets that’s focused on the low-post game. With a void to fill, Allen can make an instant impact, while knowing the patience from the Nets is there.

This is a project for both sides, but the sky is the limit.

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