When it comes to the NBA‘s best defensive players, Memphis Grizzlies guard Tony Allen is unquestionably one of the best in the league. Allen is one of those rare players that can completely change a game without making a single shot, but by not allowing his man to do the same as well.
Allen’s offensive contributions are well below average by NBA starting two-guard standards: 8.9 points, 4.7 rebounds and just 1.2 assists per game. If you look at Allen’s basic defense stats also, they won’t jump out at you either; 1.5 steals and 0.6 blocks. But statistics definitely don’t tell the whole story.
Night in and night out Allen is asked to shut down the opposing team’s best perimeter player, from Kobe Bryant, to Kevin Durant, Dwyane Wade and others. Allen more than holds his own at that, and owns a 3.4 defensive win share rate this season, which is one of the best on the Grizzlies. Allen has even began to receive mainstream recognition for his craft and has been named to the All-Defensive second and first teams each of the last two seasons respectively.
Memphis appears to have taken on their defensive leader’s mentality as well. Allen’s in your face style of pressure defense sets the tone for his teammates and allows the post players to go after block shots more aggressively. If it weren’t for Allen hounding the ball-handler, the Grizzlies would most likely give up a ton of drives into the paint on a nightly basis. Allen as proven again why he is the most valuable player for the Grizzlies on the defensive end of the court.