Grayson Allen on path to be Duke basketball’s next rising star in NBA

Former Duke basketball star Grayson Allen (Photo by Brandon Dill/Getty Images)
Former Duke basketball star Grayson Allen (Photo by Brandon Dill/Getty Images) /

The NBA may soon see what Duke basketball fans always see in Grayson Allen.

Duke basketball alum Grayson Allen, one of the most controversial players in the history of college hoops, is finally beginning to show signs of stardom in the NBA.

Following his roller coaster of a four-year term in Durham, Allen built a reputation that could destroy anyone’s chances of even being drafted into the league. An astounding freshman performance that resulted in a national title became a bittersweet memory as tripping scandals plagued the guard’s Duke basketball career.

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It was unclear what Allen’s future held in the game of basketball. However, he cast aside his past and rightfully took a chance on a professional career.

After going No. 21 overall at the 2018 NBA Draft, Allen has already been on two different rosters. The first franchise to take a chance on the Duke basketball product was the Utah Jazz.

Aside from dropping 40 points out of nowhere in the last game of Utah’s 2018-19 regular season, Allen struggled to gain consistent momentum electric enough to put himself on the map. Because of this drought, he was traded to the Memphis Grizzlies, now a decision that seems to have worked in Allen’s favor.

We knew Allen had the talent, for not just anyone drops 40 points on the Los Angeles Clippers after showing no signs of league potential for most of the season. It was mostly a matter of finding the perfect organization and team that could bring out the best in him.

The Grizzlies have been known as a “reclamation organization” or as an organization that takes a chance on players who don’t have the best reputation, then turning them into well-rounded athletes who positively contribute to the likeness of the league.

Take Lance Stephenson for example. Prior to being traded to the Grizzlies, Stephenson had a reputation similar to Allen’s of being a selfish and dirty player. In addition to that, he clashed with most of the coaching staff on many of the organization’s fundamental systems.

In just 26 games with the Grizzlies, Stephenson’s fearlessness on the court made him a fan-favorite and helped the organization trailblaze on a 2016 playoff run. His complete 360 on and off the court made him one of the most desired players in uniform at the time and solidified his reputation in the NBA as a fantastic addition to any organization.

Prior to the league’s 2019-20 postponement, the month of December was the first time Allen got into the groove of double-figure scoring performances. He averaged 10.5 points per game for the month, shooting 53.8 percent from the field and 48.9 percent from three.

The rest of Allen’s pre-postponement season was relatively quiet. In the month of January, he put up only three double-figure games until he was declared out indefinitely because of a hip injury. He wouldn’t return until the league resumed in July, where he seemed even stronger in skill and physicality after coming off injury rehabilitation.

From inside the bubble, Allen caught fire off the bench, making substantial contributions to the Grizzlies’ hopeful playoff run. In eight games, he averaged 13.6 points per game, including two 20-point games against his old team, where he put up a career-high six threes, and against a stacked Raptors team, where he shot 70 percent from the field.

The Grizzlies were stopped in their tracks, however, when they fell to the Portland Trail Blazers in a play-in game.

Although these contributions seem small, they are a snapshot of the trajectory Allen is on for this young Grizzlies team. As a starter, these numbers would take him out easily. Off the bench, though, he’s making his case as a key player to a winning record.

The Duke basketball champ might have found a semi-permanent home in Memphis

From what it seems, the Grizzlies organization is one Allen has finally found comfort and stability in. That could be because Duke’s Brotherhood has found its way to Memphis. Tyus Jones and Justise Winslow, who also belong to the 2015 Blue Devil championship team, are two men on the roster Allen has been close with for years.

Other than that, Allen has been on his own path of personal growth as a well-rounded player and teammate.

Only time will tell where Allen goes from here. But you can imagine the hard work he’s been putting in with his team in the offseason.

One thing the Cameron Crazies know for certain is that the GOAT, Duke basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski, produces players who stand strong in the face of adversity, something Allen isn’t a stranger to.

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