On Monday, Grantland's Zach Lowe released his fourth-annual list of Luke Walton All-Stars, among those making the cut was none other than former Philadelphia 76er and current Pacer, Lavoy Allen. For those out of the know, a "Luke Walton All-Star" is defined by the NBA's version of Spock as a journeyman thriving in an unexpectedly large role. Given the criteria, there is no question that Allen - already racking-up 694 minutes played and leading the Pacers in total rebound percentage (18.3%) - fits the bill.
Lavoy was named as the F/C reserve in this year's edition, here is Lowe's commentary:
Allen was an afterthought in the Evan Turner deal, but he's reemerged this season as a perfectly nice reserve capable of toggling between both big-man positions and gobbling up every damn offensive rebound in sight. While on the floor, Allen has rebounded 14 percent of Indy's misses - one of the highest individual numbers in the league - and he's shooting nearly 75 percent on putbacks, per Synergy Sports. That's good, because he can't score efficiently in any other way - at least not yet.
Per basketball-reference, Lavoy Allen's offensive rebound percentage (14.3%) ranks seventh in the entire NBA. His ability to collect his team's garbage is near to essential for this year's Pacers roster. With an offense (28th) and field goal percentage (25th) languishing near the bottom of the league, getting as many looks at the basket as possible in order to generate second chance points is of the utmost importance. Remarkably, in the six games when Lavoy has been granted the opportunity to play alongside Roy Hibbert, Chris Copeland, Solomon Hill, and Donald Sloan, that unit is grabbing 40.9% of the team's misses. When the typically third-string forward is on the court, the Pacers are grabbing a team-best 28.8% of the offensive rebounds available to them. When he is off the court, that number drops to a team-worst 21.3%, per NBA.com/stats. Therefore, the fact that Allen is shooting a team-best 72.7% (minimum 10 attempts) on tip shots should be seen as the much-needed icing on the otherwise bland cake.
As for the second-year Pacer's fit as Ian Mahinmi's understudy, Lowe adds:
Allen isn't a great rim protector or pick-and-roll eraser, but he's a big body who moves around the floor enough to get in the way. The Pacers have been loads better with Allen on the floor, and he has meshed well with both David West and Luis Scola as Indy's backup center during Ian Mahinmi's absence.
The Pacers most effective reserve lineup this season has been Allen, Luis Scola, and Chris Copeland joined by C.J. Miles and C.J. Watson. That five-man unit is allowing just 77.3 points per 100 possessions and outscoring opponent's back-ups by 23.2 points per 100 possessions. Substitute Damo for Copeland and you have Indiana's second most effective reserve lineup, that unit is outscoring opponents by 22.8 points per 100 possessions.
The results are similar when the 25-year old plays alongside David West. In the most used lineup including both Allen and West, joined by Solomon Hill, C.J. Watson, and Rodney Stuckey, that unit is putting up 112.6 points per 100 possessions. Granted, none of these lineups have appeared in more than six games this season so the sample size is small. That being said, the early returns do seem to indicate that Lavoy, though undersized, is capable of holding his own at the back-up center position.
Lavoy Allen may not be a budding star, but he is, in Zach Lowe's written word and by his own contributions to the Pacers, every bit a Walton. In a quasi-rebuilding year, success cannot be measured by All-Star appearances or perhaps even a team's win-loss record. Rather, it must be assessed by individual growth and development. Though it is only a pseudo-honor, Lavoy's placement in Walton-lore should be celebrated as a small victory. During a season sure-to-be short on accolades and likely to be high on transition as he, Luis Scola, and maybe even David West approach free agency, Allen's ability to jell with Indiana bodes well for him as well as the long-term future of the team.
For more on how Lavoy Allen's emergence is changing his trade's narrative, hop here.
(Stats cited are from NBA.com/stats and Basketball-Reference)