ID CARD: 6-foot-10¼ center, Texas, freshman, 19 years old
DRAFT RANGE: Ranked 17th by DraftExpress.com; 14th by ESPN.com; first among centers by NBA.com
SCOUTS LOVE: There’s a lot to work with in Allen, who played all of his freshman season as an 18-year-old at Texas. It takes a fair amount of projection because there’s nothing right now that indicates he’ll have one dominant NBA skill, perhaps, but neither does there appear anything that will become a long-term weakness. He moves well, he’s got great length and appears to have soft hands and relatively quick feet for a young big man. His shooting percentage indicates there’s something to work with there and Allen showed the makings of a hook shot to develop and a face-up jump shot that could eventually make him at least a mid-range threat. Allen is thoughtful in his responses and draws high marks for character. In sum, he appears the type of player who’ll come closer to the high end than the low end of his potential.
SCOUTS WONDER: For as much projection as it takes with Allen, it’s easy enough to envision him finding an NBA niche at the defensive end. He looks like someone who’ll offer a little rim protection while possessing enough mobility to be something less than a liability in pick-and-roll defense. Offense is another matter. Other than offensive rebounding – Allen averaged 3.0 per game at Texas – there’s not a developed tool in his kit right now. Though he shot an outstanding 58 percent on two-point attempts, Allen isn’t someone who’ll stretch the floor – he didn’t make a 3-point shot all season – and his post-up game is in its infancy. But, again, he only recently turned 19. And the trend line to Allen’s season was promising. After several quiet outings early against better opponents, he put up big numbers against teams like Kansas, Baylor and West Virginia late in the season, highlighted by a 22-point, 19-rebound showing against the top-ranked Jayhawks.
NUMBER TO NOTE: 7-foot-5¼ — Allen’s wing span. That was fourth best among prospects measured at the NBA draft combine and gives Allen the physical tools to play defensive center despite marginal height for the position. Given his age, it’s entirely possible he’s still got some growth left in him, too.
MONEY QUOTE: “When I first get into the NBA, they’re telling me the first two years I’m going to be a defense guy, have to bring energy. My offensive game isn’t going to be as polished as it’s going to be, so that’s the only way I’m going to get on the court.” – Jarrett Allen at the NBA draft combine on May 12
PISTONS FIT: The Pistons are set at center for the next two seasons with Andre Drummond under contract for three more years and Boban Marjanovic for the next two. Allen would have plenty of time to develop – both in the D-League and battling Drummond and Marjanovic in Pistons practices – if he were to be their pick at No. 12. Given his age, relative lack of development and need to bulk up – at 234, he’s got a frame with plenty of room to fill out – that two-year window would mesh well with Allen’s timetable. But the roster might argue against Allen – or it at least might result in Allen getting bumped down a spot or two on their draft board due to the presence of Drummond and Marjanovic and the unlikelihood that a 2017 draft choice would play in his first two seasons.
BOTTOM LINE: Allen has two things potentially working against his draft value: one, the trend line in the NBA with fewer teams looking for big men and more looking for shooting and players who can make plays off the dribble; two, the fact there are a ton of young big men – all offering something a little bit different, probably none ready to help immediately – who figure to go anywhere from 10 to late in the first round.