Years pro: 5
Status: Has two years remaining on his contract, with the second year a team option.
Key stats: Played in 61 games, starting in five. Averaged 2.9 points and 3.6 rebounds while playing 14.3 minutes per game.
This could not have been what Lavoy Allen was hoping for in his fifth NBA season. But it’s the reality of the NBA, where younger players — and sometimes older players, too — are a constant threat to your job security.
Allen averaged the least minutes, points and rebounds of his NBA career last season, leaving his status for next season uncertain. The Pacers have the option to renew his contract for one more season, and likely will check the NBA’s landscape for backup forwards before reaching a decision.
Allen was the second-longest tenured Pacers player, behind Paul George. He joined the franchise in the trade that sent Danny Granger to Philadelphia for Evan Turner and him 20 minutes before the deadline on Feb. 20, 2014. That makes him the only player besides George to have played in the Pacers’ most recent conference finals, although he played for just 15 minutes over four games in that postseason.
Gallery: Allen’s 2016-17 Season in Photos »
Since then he’s proved he can be productive when given consistent opportunity, but also proved he’s replaceable. All of which puts him on a par with at least 50 percent of the players in the NBA. His latest season was a mixed bag of 61 appearances, five starts, seven games missed because of injury and 14 games missed because the coach decided not to play him.
Before you write him off as expendable, though, consider that he did produce significantly at times, and at a salary that was ninth-lowest on the team among players with more than three years of experience. Kevin Seraphin’s injury had moved him into the playing rotation, then Thad Young’s injury moved him into the starting lineup against Detroit on Feb. 4. He responded with 18 points and 11 rebounds, along with three assists, two steals and intangibles such as effective screens and solid defense.
“He was probably our MVP tonight,” coach Nate McMillan said.
“I think he’s a smart player, he’s solid, he’s going to be in the right place most of the time. I trust him. I really trust him out there.”
2016-17 Player Reviews: More Reviews, Highlights, and Photos »
Allen followed that with just two points and five rebounds in the next game against Oklahoma City. The Pacers won that one, however, running their win streak to seven. That’s what makes Allen a confusing player. He tends to contribute to winning, even when he’s not doing much statistically. The plus/minus stat usually looks favorably upon him.
Allen went on to start five consecutive games before a sore right knee knocked him out for three games. He never started again, although he did get his second and final double-double of the season in his first game back from his injury with 10 points and 10 rebounds in the homecourt win over Memphis. He later had 14 rebounds in a loss at Boston.
His playing time late in the season dwindled when Seraphin, who showed greater athleticism, was healthy, and he made just three brief playoff appearances.
The Pacers might be able to find a better player to replace Allen. They might not find one as productive and economical, however.
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