Defense does not sell tickets. It does not make sports center. It is not getting anyone a shoe contract. And before Tony Allen’s defense, I would’ve said it doesn’t write articles.
The Warriors have the best record in the NBA and the MVP, but they are down 2-1 in the western conference semifinals. A big reason for that is Tony Allen.
Tony Allen is an eleven year veteran. Who has only averaged double figures in points once in his NBA career. He averages about 2 steals, a half a block, and less than five rebounds a game. To put it simply, he doesn’t fill up the stat sheets. So, how is this guy a starter on the number 5 seeded team in the Western Conference, the Memphis Grizzlies? It’s right there on the grizzlies team stats. 2nd in opponent field goals in the league, and Allen plays a huge role in that.
According to Mike Cole of NESN.com Allen is “known first and foremost for his lockdown defense.” Allen stands at only 6’4″. While this is taller than the average person, it takes a lot to guard the Lebron James’ and the Kevin Durant’s of the league. But he just does that.
In last year’s Grizzlies/Thunder series, Skip Bayless during an episode of First Take noted Durant’s decreased performance, scoring output, and overall lack of effectiveness.
Skip asked, “What is happening to Kevin Durant? Tony Allen.” While Tony Allen’s defense doesn’t show up oh his stat sheet, it does show up on others.
In that series alone K.D.’s production went from 53% to 37% from the field. That’s a massive and astronomical drop in production, and that’s not just defense on anybody, but defense on the 2014 MVP, Kevin Durant.
That kind of drop in production happens from never stopping on plays, getting in a player’s head, and serious and outmatched hustle. Dive on the floor and make plays type hustle.
I think he is trying to send a message… “First Team All Defense.”
Never Ending Heart
The Grantland’s Brian Phillips described Tony Allen as “a combination of a professional wrestler, an elite superhero sidekick, and the dad from Finding Nemo.” in a recent article.
That’s the thing, Allen’s not the title character. He will never be Nemo or Batman. But, holy bijou who doesn’t love robin? He’s a team player and he’s all heart. In a post-game interview where Allen matched up against the King, Lebron James. Allen said, “I just wanted to exert as much energy as I could on the defensive end.”
How many players in the league look to spend more energy on defense than on offense? In the NBA, I don’t think anyone is owning up to anything, but from pick-up basketball courts across the country most people play offense first basketball. Tony Allen just doesn’t think that way.
Phillips goes on to say in the aforementioned article, ” no one leaves his heart and soul more theatrically out on the court,” in reference to Tony Allen’s defense, efforts, and remarkable energy during the game.
Deflections, defensive pressure, and forcing mental mistakes are three key and vital things to the game that will never show up on a stat sheet. These are the areas in which Allen excels. The Memphis Grizzlies system works best to aid Allen’s gritty playing style.
According to an article on grizzlybearblues.com: “The Memphis Grizzlies brandish a style of basketball that leaves opponents bruised up and their coaches scratching their heads. In an age of places known as “Lob City” or guard duo’s known as the “Splash Brothers”, the Grizzlies seem out of place.”
And they do seem out of place. When you watch the Grizzlies play, it’s not flashy crossovers, athletic dunks, or skillful long range shots. It’s hardcore to the grindstone basketball. It’s slow paced. It’s post play, smart passes, and teamwork.
Allen fits into the organization seamlessly because he plays fundamentals. Mike Conley says, “Tony always takes any matchup with one of the elite guys in the league personally, almost too personally,” said Conley. “Sometimes he gets so locked in…. He’s everywhere on the court.
We need that kind of energy if we’re going to win.” in an article by David Freeman of breitbart.com.
Tony Allen on Tony Allen
Kobe already gave his respect to Allen, literally.
— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) May 8, 2015
And we already know, Allen is gunning for first team all defense and surprisingly Allen finished seventh in Defensive player of the year voting according to nba.com.
When you know what you want, and want it bad enough, you'll find a way to get it ?
— Tony Allen (@aa000G9) May 4, 2015
I guess Allen is finding a way to get the defensive recognition he deserves.