Can Grayson Allen be the Milwaukee Bucks’ Jordan Clarkson?

Oct 13, 2021; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; Mandatory Credit: Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 13, 2021; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; Mandatory Credit: Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports /
Milwaukee Bucks: Grayson Allen, Utah Jazz: Jordan Clarkson
Oct 31, 2021; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports /

The Milwaukee Bucks spent the offseason heavily interested in Utah Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson. The former Sixth Man of the Year was one of the most sought after trade pieces this past offseason and ultimately remained with the Jazz, who are outperforming expectations currently.

The likely centerpiece of a return package would have been Grayson Allen, who even as recently as a couple weeks ago, was being shopped by the Bucks. Grayson is the most tradeable player the Bucks have, coupling his solid on court production on both ends of the floor with his pretty team friendly contract that pays him just an $8.5 million base salary this season and next season.

There is certainly a case to be made for Jevon Carter retaining his position in the starting lineup when Khris Middleton returns. If that happens, which it has at times with Mike Budenholzer opting to start Bobby Portis here and there, Grayson Allen could become the Bucks’ sixth man, a shooter off the bench.

Could the Milwaukee Bucks use Grayson Allen the way the Utah Jazz use Jordan Clarkson?

The short answer is that the Bucks kind of already do use Grayson in similar fashion to the way Jordan Clarkson is used in Utah. Their play styles are somewhat similar although each does a few things better and Clarkson has shown more of a microwave ability to pour in points.

How do the two currently compare?

Grayson Allen is currently averaging 11.2 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game on 45.6 percent field goal shooting, 45.0 percent 3-point shooting and 91.1 percent at the free throw line. Jordan Clarkson is averaging 19.0 points, 4.0 rebounds and 4.9 assists per game on 42.7 percent field goal shooting, 35.2 percent 3-point shooting and 84.6 percent from the free throw line.

Starting with their usage rate to give an idea of how often each player has the ball I wasn’t shocked to see Clarkson leading the Jazz with a 25.6 percent usage rate. I was far more surprised to discover that Grayson Allen ranks tenth on the Bucks with a surprisingly low 14.8 percent usage rate. Clarkson is touching the ball just shy of 11 percent more often than Allen, which will certainly make some of the following statistics interesting.

After usage, I looked at catch and shoot, pull ups and drives to compare how each player plays offensively and if Grayson could be used the same way, or at least similarly enough for the Bucks to keep Allen instead of trading him.

Beginning with catch and shoot, each player is used heavily in this way, Grayson Allen takes 3.7 shots on catch and shoot looks per game and makes 1.8, 49.2 percent and an average of 5.5 points per game. All of Allen’s catch and shoot looks have come behind the 3-point line. Shooting that effectively has Grayson at a shockingly efficient 73.8 percent effective field goal shooting on catch and shoot attempts.

Jordan Clarkson takes 4.9 shots per game on catch and shoot looks and also makes 1.8 per game, 4.7 of his 4.9 catch and shoot looks come behind the 3-point line, putting Clarkson at 37.2 percent and 37.6 percent respectively. On catch and shoot looks Clarkson’s effective field goal percentage, while respectable, is not as high as Allen’s at 55.3 percent.

Next, I looked at pull-up shooting, Clarkson has a distinct advantage, likely because of his dribbling ability and just overall scoring prowess. Clarkson averages 4.6 points per game on pull up attempts to Grayson Allen’s low 0.7 points per game.

Lastly, I looked at drives, Clarkson holds an advantage in this area as well, averaging 7.4 points per game on 3.1 makes in 6.5 attempts per game on 15.1 drives. Allen averages 2.6 points on 0.8 makes in 1.8 attempts per game driving the ball 6.8 times. Clarkson on drives shoots 48.3 percent, Allen 41.9 percent, so there’s a gap, but it’s not huge.

A complete comparison between Grayson Allen and Jordan Clarkson also informs us that Grayson Allen actually checks out better in several analytical metrics such as win shares, defensive box +/- and total box +/-. This doesn’t necessarily mean Grayson Allen is a better player, but so far this season the metrics would support that claim.

How could the Milwaukee Bucks use Grayson Allen like Jordan Clarkson?

First, we have to acknowledge that Jordan Clarkson’s usage would go down pretty significantly if he ended up in Milwaukee, so points about the difference in volume of statistics don’t hold a ton of weight. We know Clarkson can score, by the numbers, Grayson given the same usage would have comparable numbers.

Looking at efficiency and where Grayson Allen is successful, the Bucks can continue to play to his strengths, Grayson is okay on drives, not the best shooting on pull-ups, though he does well cutting to the basket and so far this season has been fantastic on catch and shoot shots, something Jordan Clarkson would no doubt take a ton of if he ever donned a Bucks jersey.

So to answer the question, the Bucks could essentially take the plan they would have made for Jordan Clarkson had they acquired him, and apply it to Grayson Allen and find more ways to get him open looks, especially catch and shoot looks from the 3-point line, as that is where he has had his greatest success. That catch and shoot 3-point success was on full display in the Bucks win over the Mavericks on Sunday night. Grayson Allen tied a career high in 3-point makes with seven on just eight attempts.

Perhaps utilizing more off ball screens for Grayson Allen could free him up for more catch and shoot opportunities and if he keeps hitting them and drawing more attention, could free up cutting lanes for whoever is setting the screens.

Next. The question the Milwaukee Bucks face as Khris Middleton’s return looms. dark

The Milwaukee Bucks may already hold the answer to one of their trade interests without having to make a move for a more costly name, stay tuned to see if Grayson Allen can become the Bucks’ Jordan Clarkson.