Meet the Celtics: Kadeem Allen

Name: Kadeem Allen
College: Arizona
Position: Point Guard
Age: 24
Acquired: 2017 NBA Draft (53rd overall pick)
Contract: One-year, two-way contract
2016-17 Stats: 9.8 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 3.1 APG, 1.6 SPG

Allen transferred to Arizona after playing two years at Hutchinson Community College in Kansas and he established himself as one of the nation’s best perimeter defenders over his two years at in the Pac-12. His lateral quickness and 6’9″ wingspan makes it very tough for defenders to dribble by him and he would always task himself with taking on the other team’s top scorer, which meant he saw a lot of top draftees Markelle Fultz and Lonzo Ball last season. Allen also has no problem getting up in a shooter’s face, which allowed him to block 1.1 shots per 40 minutes over his Division I college career, an exceptional number for any guard. He would be fun to pair up with a guard like James Harden or Isaiah Thomas if he can ever develop into a rotation piece, allowing Allen to take the other team’s best offensive weapon while his backcourt partner can focus all his energy on scoring.

He averaged a respectable 9.8 PPG last season in a starting role for the Wildcats, but he does a lot of his damage on the fast break and he’s not a threat in the half court offense. Allen is a pretty good shooter but he doesn’t have the ability to create his own shot and his ball handing skills might not allow him to be a point guard at the NBA level. It won’t take that big of an offensive improvement to turn Allen into a guy you can stick in an NBA rotation, but that still could be asking for a lot. He’ll be 25 years old by the All-Star break and a lot of four year college players come out of the draft already pretty close to their ceiling as players.

Underrated Asset
The offensive question marks are what stuffed Allen into the back of the second round, but he’s still a guy you feel good about taking an open shot. He shot 42.7% from beyond the arc last season, which was actually a fraction higher than noted Oregon sharpshooter and current Atlanta Hawks guard Tyler Dorsey. It’s getting the open shots where he has the issues. Allen took only four shots from three point land during the Wildcats run to the Sweet Sixteen last season, but three of them found the bottom of the net. In total, he attempted just 2.2 threes per game last season.

Season Projection
Allen has a two-way contract, which means he can only spend up to 45-days with the Boston Celtics this season and the rest will be with the Maine Red Claws. The 45-days includes off days, which means you’ll often see him called up for a day of practice this season only to get sent down to the G-League right after it ends. There’s a realistic chance that Allen doesn’t play in any games with the Celtics this year and it would likely mean a ton of people got hurt if he or fellow two-way player Jabari Bird ever did. If anything, you might see him getting his first NBA minutes in early April as the regular season is wrapping up with the Celtics choosing to sit a few players in preparations for the postseason if it gets to the point where everything is wrapped up. There’s a chance that Allen’s numbers in the G-League aren’t that great, but don’t let it fool you. It’s an incredibly high scoring league and probably doesn’t favor his style of play. If he shows enough improvement during the season, Ainge could easily let Shane Larkin go this summer and give the final guard spot next year to a guy like Allen.



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