by Ty Schadt, Sports Editor
Duke’s Grayson Allen reignited an old flame when he inexplicably tripped an Elon player on Dec. 21, 2016. This wasn’t the first time he exhibited dirty play, although it seemed as if the junior guard’s immature acts were behind him. After this new incident it’s possible that Allen’s antics have lessened his value in the eyes of NBA executives.
As a sophomore, Allen became Duke University’s star. He played 37 minutes a game, averaged 21 points and shot 41.7 percent from behind the arc. However, his character and style of play were called into question after two tripping incidents in February 2016.
At the time, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski claimed the flagrant fouls Allen received “weren’t enough to suspend a player.”
Allen chose to return to school for his junior season to “develop himself as a leader” and raise his draft stock. According to ESPN, he was projected as a late first round pick last year. However, his plan may have backfired. This season, he’s averaging just 15.7 points per game, and has only shot 34.3% on threes. These numbers paired with the recent incident have led to a lower draft stock for Allen. This brings up two questions: how much money would he lose by being drafted in the second round and why is he projected as a lower pick now?
According to NBC Sports, first round picks in the NBA Draft have predetermined, non-negotiable salaries based on where they’re drafted, thanks to the rookie salary scale. Contracts last three years and guarantee a certain amount of money. According to basketballinsiders.com, in last year’s draft, those selected in the twenties are earning a little over a million dollars their rookie year. When the 2017 NBA Draft takes place in June, the last pick of the first round is projected to receive a contract guaranteeing around $900,000 each season.
Second round picks don’t have set salaries; thus, they are free to negotiate any contract. Therefore, if Allen is drafted in the second round of the 2017 draft, he will be getting a deal worth under $900,000 a year. This isn’t bad by any means, but it appears as though Allen’s decision will cost him a couple hundred thousand dollars if he chooses to leave college after this season.
Why has his draft stock lowered? First, there’s the recurring controversial plays. The aforementioned trip of Elon’s Steven Santa Ana resulted in a technical foul and launched Allen into a child-like temper tantrum on the bench. When asked by ESPN reporters after the game, he fervently apologized. “I made a really bad play. I’m sorry to him, Santa Ana. I’m sorry to the officials who had to call that. I’m sorry to my team,” he said. “It was selfish and taking away from them. I’m not proud of that at all.”
Krzyzewski couldn’t get away without disciplining him this time. The following morning Allen was suspended indefinitely.
Is this why scouts have thought less of Allen this season? Not likely. According to ESPN, over a dozen NBA staffers interviewed said they weren’t overly bothered by Allen’s tripping incidents. As a matter of fact, one NBA GM said the skirmishes could be viewed as a positive because it shows his “competitive fire.”
In all actuality, the bigger problem has been his lackluster play. A Western Conference scout stated, “He has not gotten better this year. He’s gone backwards in some respects. He has not been as consistent with his shot. He is still a good line-drive penetrator, but some teams have figured out how to limit that, how to bottle him up as a passer. That is a problem.”
The NBA seems to be in Allen’s future; however, thanks to his recurring antics and regressing play, one can only speculate as to how long and painful his journey there will be.