Among the many positives to come out of the Milwaukee Bucks‘ big win over the Golden State Warriors last night was the breakout game from Grayson Allen, who made his return to the lineup after missing four games in health and safety protocols.
He chipped in 15 points on a 75 percent effective field goal rate to go along with five rebounds, two steals, and a block. It was the perfect re-introduction to the lineup after having struggled before entering the protocols.
Grayson Allen broke out of his funk for the Milwaukee Bucks
In 13 games after initially missing a game with a non-COVID illness back at the beginning of December, Allen averaged just 8.5 points on 45.3 percent true shooting (31.3 percent from 3 on over six attempts per game).
He had four double-digit scoring performances in those 13 games after having only four single-digit scoring nights in his first 23 games. There were a couple of reasons for his slump, though.
For one, it was obvious that Allen was dealing with the aftereffects of the illness that he was dealing with. After missing the lone game on December 4th, Allen played seven games and then sat out two more because of that illness.
He then played five more games before entering COVID protocols and was absolutely dreadful, averaging under six points and shooting under 23 percent from 3 on six attempts per game. In case you were unsure, that’s not great!
Another reason for this may be that Allen has struggled when the entirety of the Bucks’ big three are available. That may be a bit of “correlation doesn’t equal causation” since it came around the same time as Allen was dealing with that illness, but it shouldn’t be ignored either.
We’ll see what Allen looks like when Jrue Holiday makes his eventual return and he plays a few more games alongside the big three. However, Allen has shown the ability to be more than a spot-up shooter that fires catch-and-shoot triples.
He’s shown the ability to put the ball on the deck, drive, finish at the rim, and move the ball. It’s simply an issue that he isn’t ever going to be anything higher than the fourth option when the starters are on the floor (perhaps even the fifth, depending on how Bobby Portis is feeling that night).
Perhaps that means more minutes or an expanded role for Allen when the big three is staggered. Sure, they could bring Allen off the bench to make that fit a bit easier, but Donte DiVincenzo has struggled just as badly — if not worse! — on offense since returning to the lineup. It’s a small sample, but it hasn’t looked great.
When Allen is going like this, he provides great spacing while also being able to do more offensively. He’s also a competent defender that can more than hold his own, but that doesn’t matter if he’s not producing on offense.
This was an encouraging performance as Allen made his return, but he will have to sustain this level of play to maximize his value (especially if DiVincenzo can get going offensively).