If someone were to ask you which player on the Memphis Grizzlies roster embodied the team the most, there would probably be a lot of different answers. Some people would probably point towards the polarizing Zach Randolph, while others may point towards the reigning NBA Defensive Player of the Year, Marc Gasol. However, neither of those answers are correct.
Tony Allen is the individual manifestation of everything the Grizzlies’ stand for. He’s a tough, defensive-minded, gritty player that doesn’t worry himself with things like theatrics, but always goes out there and does his job, even if that means he can’t look pretty while doing so.
In 79 games for the Grizzlies last season, all of them starts, he averaged 8.9 points, 4.6 rebounds and 1.5 steals in just 26.7 minutes per game. Allen only shot 44.5 percent from the floor last season, but that’s not indicative of his full value. You really have to look at his defensive impact to see how he’s effective and how he personifies this Memphis team.
Last season Allen was one of the best defenders in the league, especially for a player that has to defend on the perimeter. He allowed just 0.78 points per possession last season, the 47th best mark for all players in the league. Moreover, opponents shot only 34.2 percent against Allen last season and he ranked in the top 155 defensively against every set that was thrown at him last season.
Allen may not be the most flashy player to ever play in the league, but he gets the job done. In actuality, that’s the type of team the Grizzlies are. They made it to the Western Conference Finals last year, only they did it with their grinding mentality and style of play. Though it happened over a month ago now, the Grizzlies can’t be praised enough for re-signing Allen this off-season. He’s the embodiment of their team and there’s no way they could let him go.