The Phoenix Suns were once again involved in a blockbuster trade that will alter the course of the league for some time.
The Deandre Ayton experiment has finally concluded. The Suns received Jusuf Nurkic, Grayson Allen, Nassir Little, and Keon Johnson in return for Ayton and rookie Toumani Camara.
Full trade, per sources:— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) September 27, 2023
- Bucks: Damian Lillard
- Blazers: Jrue Holiday, Deandre Ayton, Toumani Camara, 2029 first-round Bucks pick and Bucks pick swap
- Suns: Jusuf Nurkic, Nassir Little, Keon Johnson, Grayson Allen https://t.co/56I888abMs
While the center of discussion (pun intended) will be primarily focused on the Ayton/Nurkic swap, I do think Phoenix nabbed some interesting role players in the process. Grayson Allen was the “headliner” role player that included a package of Nurkic, Little, and Johnson.
Allen does have a track record of dirty/questionable plays dating back to his college days at Duke. He is certainly not the most well-liked player in the NBA to put it lightly, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have a chance to be a positive contributor to this Suns squad.
He instantly steps into the “villain” role that was occupied by Chris Paul and Jae Crowder in recent years.
Phoenix’s backcourt is as strong as ever, boasting a ton of 6’3” to 6’5” guards that can hold their own if they need to “guard up”. The interchangeability is also intriguing, as they can roll out some three-guard lineups that will not be compromising size all that much.
Phoenix's guard rotation:— Zona (@AZSportsZone) September 27, 2023
Devin Booker 6'5"
Bradley Beal 6'4"
Grayson Allen 6'4"
Eric Gordon 6'3"
Josh Okogie 6'4"
Jordan Goodwin 6'3"
Keon Johnson 6'5"
Tons of versatility and size. Likely going to see A LOT of three-guard lineups.
GRAYSON ALLEN SCOUTING REPORT
6’4”, 6’6” wingspan, 198 lbs., SG, 27 years old (28 soon), Duke University
- Career Stats: 9.7 PPG, 2.8 RPG, 1.7 APG, 0.6 SPG on a 43/39/86 shooting split.
- 2022-23 Stats: 10.4 PPG, 3.3 RPG, 2.3 APG, 0.9 SPG on a 44/39.9/90 shooting split.
Summary: Allen is an elite shooter who will get plenty of clean looks in Phoenix’s offense. His three-point shooting, toughness, energy, and high basketball IQ make him an ideal fit in the Suns’ second unit.
He can handle the ball occasionally but is more suited to playing off the ball, spacing the floor, and running off screens. His role in Milwaukee was similar to what it will be in Phoenix, serving as an “afterthought” in a stacked lineup that can thrive off open looks and busted defensive assignments.
Career Shooting Numbers
- Three Point: 39.5%
- Free Throw: 86.1%
- Three Point: 39.9%
- Free Throw: 90.5%
- 41.5% catch & shoot threes
Over the past two seasons, he has shot 46% on corner threes.
The point above is bold and italicized for a reason. That is what his role will come down to. He will be who Suns fans wanted Landry Shamet to be.
Allen’s importance in the depth chart will be amplified on nights that one of Booker, Beal, or Gordon cannot go. When healthy, that’s quite the backcourt and they have the ability to all play alongside one another.
Allen can get buckets when needed. He may not be a pure “creator”, but he tends to be in the right place at the right time more often than not offensively.
He has a little bit of on-ball juice in terms of creation and making simple reads, though he is not someone who should be tasked with primary playmaking duties. Lucky for him, he’ll likely be sharing the floor with one of Booker, Beal, Gordon, or Durant the majority of the time. You will likely see him moving off the ball A LOT, something he is no stranger to behind the arc.
He put together a massive playoff performance in Game 4 of the First Round in the 2022 Eastern Conference Playoffs. He dropped 27 points in 28 minutes of action on 10-12 FG and 6-7 shooting from deep.
Allen became the first Bucks player with at least 25 points off the bench in a playoff game since Tim Thomas in 2003.
He isn’t a “bucket getter” by any means, but he can move off the ball, drive and kick, finish inside and knock down open threes at an elite rate. That’s the exact type of player you want to surround superstars with.
Defense + Athleticism
The part of Allen’s game that is not talked about a ton, is his “sneaky athleticism”. Yes, I despise that term as much as anyone, but for him, it’s a fair assessment. He has a few poster dunks that seemingly came out of nowhere throughout his career.
That translates defensively as well, as he may not be a defensive stopper, but he can hold his own on that end.
Jrue Holiday had this to say about Allen’s defense: “Grayson’s locking up, bro. He takes on the challenge. I know people think that he is aggressive and overly aggressive, but the way I see it, that’s better. And switching again tonight, certain possessions going against Fred (VanVleet) not letting him get into the paint, he tried to get to his stepback and all his moves, and Grayson is just sitting there and really just reading him really, really well. It’s not just that one possession. Grayson has been great defensively, to me, this whole year.”
His value on that end could surprise some folks this season that aren’t as familiar with his game. He’s stronger than you’d expect, similar to Eric Gordon who has underrated strength and can hold his own against bigger wings.
Allen will provide the Suns a reliable shooter that can defend and provide value without needing the basketball. He checks about every box that you want in a role player.
Despite the hate he gets for his past antics, I believe he’ll win Suns fans over once the games start.