The Memphis Grizzlies are having their best season in franchise history (click here for more about that) and a certain contributor to that has been veteran Tony Allen. The ninth year player has started 109 of the last 110 games he has played for the Grizz and he may be a tad under-the-radar as far as being recognized as a legit NBA contributor on both ends of the floor–especially defense.
Offensively, Allen is interesting because he is taking more shots than ever before despite shooting poorly the past two seasons compared to how he usually does. His .450 shooting percentage is his second lowest ever and lowest since he became a starter, but he scores 9-10 points per game for the Grizz. Allen is a horrid three-ball shooter (15 for 67 as a Grizzlies player, including a putrid three for 18 this season) but interestingly enough his free throw stroke has improved since he joined Memphis.
The Grizz team defense is very good (article on that is here) and Allen is a major asset on that end of the floor. This is the sort of guy teams need and part of the reason I think the Grizz are going to make a perhaps surprising extended playoff run is their team defense, where Allen is a major contributor.
The Grizz have an interesting decision to make in the offseason as Allen is a free-agent. His $3+ million contract this season is a mega-bargain when you look at how much he does for Lionel Hollins and the team. He will be sure to have several suitors, but that is for down the road. For now I am excited about the Grizz for the first time in their existence and I acknowledge that Allen is a good piece for their puzzle.