UTAH JAZZ

Allen Grateful For G League Experience, Support From Teammates

May 9, 2019, 4:35 PM
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)...
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – For the Utah Jazz’s Grayson Allen, it was an up and down rookie season.

While he lamented not being more involved during the Jazz’s brief playoff run, Grayson was grateful for the lessons learned during his first year in the league.

Speaking to the media following Utah’s elimination from the playoffs at the hands of the Houston Rockets, Allen expressed his gratitude for the guidance he received from his teammates and coaches. Allen grew a lot throughout the course of his rookie year, in large part thanks to the decision made by management to have him spend considerable time with the Salt Lake City Stars of the NBA G League.

“I think the biggest takeaway for me has been the learning experience,” said Allen. “I’m fortunate as a rookie, to come into a really good team and a very competitive team. And so for me, going down to the G League was a great opportunity to get some playing time.”

In the early going of his first season with the Jazz after being selected in the first round of the 2019 NBA Draft, Allen struggled to find the floor as the team also struggled to find themselves as a unit.

Needing to get playing time in order to develop, especially when regards to defense and shooting, Allen was sent down to the G League to play with the Stars.

Even though he was a first round draft pick and had starred collegiately at Duke, Allen didn’t let his ego get in the way of his desire to improve and took advantage of his time playing in front of much smaller courts in the G League.

In 12 games with the Stars, he averaged 16.3 points per game on 46.3 percent shooting while playing more than 30 minutes per game with the Stars, a huge increase from the 5.6 points on 37.6 percent in about 11 minutes per game with the big club.

Towards the end of the season, when Allen was back with the Jazz, his vast improvement was evident in the last week of the regular season. The final stretch was highlighted by a 40-point explosion against the LA Clippers on the last night of the regular season.

Teammates Proud Of Allen

Allen’s teammate, Jae Crowder, who worked extensively with the rookie behind the scenes, felt that he had come a long way.

“His confidence grew more and more each time he touched the court,” said Crowder of Allen. “That’s all you can ask of a young player.”

 Rookie Hazing

As part of the introduction to the league that comes with being a rookie, Allen was given a pink, somewhat feminine backpack used to hold snacks for his teammates and was mandated to carry it with him at all times. This has long been a tradition among Jazz rookies.

At times, he was also subjected to further strange tasks in his initiation. One time on the team’s flight to an away game, Allen was forced to carry on an enormous bag of popcorn, not for his teammates to eat, but rather for them to enjoy the fact that he had to carry it around over his shoulder.

Despite the minor hazing, Allen enjoyed being with his teammates during his first year as a pro.

“There’s little moments like that that are kind of fun and annoying if you’re a rookie, but they’ve been an incredible group to be around,” said Allen.

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