Milwaukee Bucks: Grayson Allen brings much-needed defensive intensity

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - APRIL 17 (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - APRIL 17 (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

On August 6, the Milwaukee Bucks made a trade to replace the defensive intensity P.J. Tucker had provided throughout their championship run.

The surprising trade included sending Sam Merrill and two future second round selections to the Memphis Grizzlies for guard Grayson Allen. The trade, although controversial, was a good move for Milwaukee due to the biggest strength Allen brings to the table: Defense. He is known as a pest ever since he played in college at Duke. He was an All-American, All-ACC selection, and a borderline dirty player in college.

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Allen first made headlines in 2016 when he appeared to deliberately trip Louisville guard Ray Spalding, where he was given a flagrant foul. Two weeks later, it appeared he intentionally tripped Florida State guard Xavier Rathan-Mayes and received a reprimand from the ACC.

The next fall, he was stripped of his captaincy and suspended for one game by Coach Mike Krzyzewski after appearing to trip Elon guard Steven Santa Ana.

How has Grayson Allen fared in the NBA and how will he soon fit with the Milwaukee Bucks?

After he was drafted 21st overall by the Utah Jazz in the 2018 NBA Draft, he struggled to find playing time behind Donovan Mitchell and Ricky Rubio. Allen was traded to Memphis in 2019 and found his niche as a defensive stopper. He averaged just nine points and shot 46 percent from the field and 40 percent from the 3-point range.

In 2020-21, Allen put up career highs in points, rebounds, assists, and steals. He averaged 10.6 points, 3.2 rebounds, 2.2 assists, and just under one steal per game while shooting 39 percent from 3-point range. He also started 38 of 50 games and helped lead Memphis to the playoffs alongside star point guard Ja Morant.

Allen did struggle in the first-round postseason series between Memphis and Utah, but that was because he was going against Mitchell and Conley. He averaged 6.4 points in five games while shooting 36 percent from the field and 38 percent from 3-point range. Memphis lost the series four games to one but did win the play-in tournament knocking off the San Antonio Spurs and Golden State Warriors in the process.

Allen will likely serve as the second man off the bench after Milwaukee re-signed Bobby Portis. There is also the possibility that Allen could start a few games with Donte DiVincenzo’s return unknown following a season-ending surgery. Milwaukee gets a 3-and-D player who can lock down both guard positions when called upon.

There are some fans and analysts that may not like Allen on the Bucks because of the checkered past he had at Duke. However, Allen is one of those players that if he is on a particular team, he will be loved by the fans because of his intensity and his scoring. If he is not on said team, he will be hated because he is a pest.

The bottom line is, Grayson Allen is an upgrade from P.J. Tucker because Allen brought something that Tucker, even though effective, couldn’t do. Allen is more of a consistent offensive threat with his three-level shooting to couple with his defense. Tucker was just a corner-three specialist that struggled to knock down outside shots in the postseason.

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Love him or hate him, Allen is now a Milwaukee Buck. Let’s hope he will love the city just like Portis does.