1) His list of credentials at the defensive end of the floor is extensive and impressive. Allen has been recognized on the NBA All-Defensive teams a total of six times, including three selections to the first team (in the seasons ending in 2012, 2013 and 2015). This spring he picked up his third second-team honors for a second consecutive season. The 35-year-old prides himself on shutting down wing scorers and making life difficult for some of the NBA’s biggest offensive talents. Among active NBA players, only Chris Paul (nine times) and LeBron James (six times) have as many All-Defensive appearances.
2) Allen is beloved in Memphis, as perhaps the most instrumental man in creating the Grizzlies’ trademark, blue-collar “Grit and Grind” style of play. In fact, Allen is known in Tennessee as the “Grindfather,” partly because of a postgame quote he gave that directly led to the well-known team slogan. “All heart. Grit. Grind,” Allen said after a 2011 win over Oklahoma City. From there, the motto took off and became extremely popular among Memphis fans and within the Grizzlies’ organization.
3) He’s being reunited in New Orleans with former Boston teammate Rajon Rondo. In Allen’s fourth season with the Celtics and as a pro, Boston captured the 2008 NBA championship, the franchise’s first league title since the 1980s. Allen appeared in 75 games for that Celtics team, including making 11 starts. In the postseason, he played in all 24 Boston games, averaging 16.3 minutes off the bench. It was only Rondo’s second season in the NBA.
4) Allen brings a wealth of experience to the Crescent City, as a 13-year NBA veteran with 798 regular season games and 112 postseason contests under his belt. His teams have made it to the NBA playoffs for nine consecutive years, a streak that began with his ’08 league championship in Boston. He has won at least one playoff series in six of those nine years, part of why he has a slight edge on Rondo (112 to 96) as the current Pelicans player who’s appeared in the most postseason games. The New Orleans drop-off from there is steep, with Omer Asik registering 37 games and Ian Clark notching 32. Incidentally, like Anthony Davis, Allen is a Chicago native.
5) It’s a relatively distant memory now, but Allen was named Big 12 Player of the Year during the 2003-04 season with Oklahoma State. He averaged 16.0 points per game, along with 5.5 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 2.1 steals. Allen shot slightly over 50 percent from the field in his final college campaign with the Cowboys, something he’s gone on to do in three seasons as a pro. He’s never been a prolific three-point shooter, even dating back to his college days, but tends to be efficient, with a 47.5 career field-goal percentage in the NBA.