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Ranking The Roster: Grayson Allen Fans Chicago’s Flames At Seven

Though he remains a polarizing Buck, he still fits the team well

NBA: Playoffs-Boston Celtics at Milwaukee Bucks Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

If the voting results of recent days are any indication, Brew Hoop readers envision a third tier of players beneath the star-caliber triplets on top and the vital role players below them. Grayson Allen lasted the longest from that group of him, Wesley Matthews, and Joe Ingles to come in at seventh in our exercise.


The 7th most important player to Milwaukee’s postseason success is...

This poll is closed

  • 76%
    Grayson Allen
    (209 votes)
  • 14%
    Pat Connaughton
    (40 votes)
  • 2%
    Brook Lopez
    (7 votes)
  • 5%
    Bobby Portis
    (16 votes)
272 votes total Vote Now

As I alluded to yesterday, I’m mildly surprised to see Allen last this long, given the roller coaster of fan support he endured from the home crowd last year. His hotly-detested reputation cooled somewhat in recent years before he arrived in a shrewd trade last August, but a poorly-controlled arm swing reignited the Allen hatred league-wide and even among a segment of Bucks fans, to say nothing of his reception in Chicago. He got the last laugh with that one, though, dropping consecutive 20+ point efforts off the bench in Games 3 and 4 on the head of those same Bulls, burying 11 of his 14 three-point attempts. Over the five games, he averaged 13 PPG on a scorching .600/.583/.750 shooting line, and that included a scoreless Game 1.

After being a starter since Opening Night, Mike Budenholzer benched Allen at the start of April in favor of Wesley Matthews and his defense, a move some viewed as a demotion. While I thought it wasn’t an indictment of Allen’s play but rather a sensible basketball decision, and he re-entered the starting lineup in the Celtics series, that whopper of a performance against the Bulls was somewhat of a redemption for him. It did wonders for his standing with the good folks of Wisconsin, winning over even the most ardent of critics. Those happy vibes were pretty short-lived, however. Despite a solid Game 1, he increasingly struggled to hit from deep when confronted by Boston’s top-rated defense, draining only two triples on 18 attempts over the next six contests, resulting in just 5 PPG on a ghastly .310/.208/.571 shooting line.

Making matters worse, Ime Udoka ran all sorts of action that targeted Allen, switching his stars onto who was often Milwaukee’s weakest defender on the court. The Celtics simply played him off the floor at times and with that, many Bucks fans largely forgot about his exploits versus the Bulls, returning to the common derision which predated his Bucks tenure. In fact, a troll (just as likely a Bucks fan as a Bulls fan) attempted to skew the voting for one of our earlier polls by stuffing the ballot box for Allen in the eleventh spot. Had he maintained even his regular season shooting output, that added production in the absence of Khris Middleton might have outweighed his oft-noted defensive difficulties in the series, to say nothing of aiding the Bucks’ sputtering offense.

Nevertheless, it’s hard to deny that Allen posted a quality year in 2021–22, averaging a career-best 11.1 PPG on .448/.409/.865 shooting. As the Bucks endured injuries to Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday during the early stages of the season, Allen stepped into more of a secondary scoring role and at one point averaged over 15 PPG. His fit looked pretty clean alongside Giannis as a reliable marksman who could make entry passes to force his defender into double-teaming the best player on earth, move off-ball if necessary, and drain the resulting open three. The two-man combo of Allen-Giannis outscored opponents by 8.6 points per 100 possessions over 1228 minutes, slightly higher than even Giannis-Middleton at 1306. Among all duos that included Giannis, his with Allen ranked fifth-best.

A solid rebounder for his size and a more-capable defender (who has shades of Donte DiVincenzo in his game) than most give him credit for, the fact is that Allen is firmly a role player and a good one at that. One who’s capable of starting as he did after Bobby Portis was ineffective to kick off the second round, but also one whose skills and deficiencies can each palpably affect a series as happened in each respective matchup last spring. These are the inherent quandaries with role players. While I could repurpose much of what I wrote about George Hill to expand on that statement by reiterating that Middleton’s injury necessitated miscasting players in elevated roles, our own Harms put it just as well in his comment on yesterday’s post, illustrating it with a Portis comparison I also applied to Hill:

[T]here is an actual possibility that Grayson improves. Similar to Bobby and Pat getting better the longer they played with Giannis and Khris and now Jrue.

A lot of people couldn’t stand Pat because of his stupid fouling or block attempts and inconsistent shooting. He came back better and has really gotten better every season.

Bobby Portis was benched for the playoffs series against the Nets. We all hate hearing about it but if Kevin Durant’s toe is not on the line and lose in a game 7 on the road, do we think Bobby is as bad as Grayson and not a playoffs performer?

Now I get why some liked Wes more and ranked higher but I don’t think it’s wrong to have Grayson in the Bobby and Pat echelon of remaining players to rank.

And Grayson was useful against the [B]ulls in the playoffs with Middleton injured. Probably similar to how Bobby was useful against the [H]awks when Giannis went down. Let’s have more than 2 playoffs [sic] series in one year ultimately define if he can ever play in the playoffs. One of the series he was one of our best players on the team and the other he was matched up against a statistically historic caliber defense.

Though I agree that we should hold off on an evaluation of Allen’s postseason playability from just one title run—as we did with Eric Bledsoe—I’ll add that we have a pretty good idea of Allen’s idealized role on this team. About to turn 27 and on a reasonable (also quite tradeable) contract for the next two campaigns, there indeed is a chance he will improve upon a generally positive debut in Milwaukee. Fortunately for the Bucks, they don’t need more than today’s version of Allen when the rotation is fully healthy. In the right matchup, he’ll see steady minutes as a floor-spacer, but shooting will determine his playing time facing even an exploitative opponent like Boston. With a healthy Middleton in that series, I imagine Allen would have sat much more after Game 2 once it became clear his shooting was an issue, avoiding the defensive exposure which earned him so much ire. If he kept torching nets like he did when playing Chicago, though, Milwaukee might have moved on regardless.


Gut Check: how confident are you that Grayson Allen will be in the playoff rotation?

This poll is closed

  • 2%
    1 - Not in the rotation, at all.
    (6 votes)
  • 2%
    2 - Might play a few rotation minutes, here and there.
    (8 votes)
  • 20%
    3 - Will get some minutes, depends on the series.
    (60 votes)
  • 60%
    4 - Will be a part of the rotation, playing steady minutes.
    (175 votes)
  • 13%
    5 - Firmly in the rotation, playing heavy minutes!
    (39 votes)
288 votes total Vote Now

We now approach the higher end of the roster, and while I anticipate the top three spots will be pretty cut and dry, I’m interested to see where Lopez falls in the coming hierarchy you all choose. Are people worried about his interior defense as he ages and vote him beneath a better offensive weapon, much like how Matthews exited our exercise before Allen? Or does Connaughton usurp both him and Portis as the most reliable playoff performer of the trio?


The 6th most important player to Milwaukee’s postseason success is...

This poll is closed

  • 58%
    Pat Connaughton
    (137 votes)
  • 0%
    Jrue Holiday
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    Khris Middleton
    (0 votes)
  • 8%
    Brook Lopez
    (20 votes)
  • 32%
    Bobby Portis
    (77 votes)
234 votes total Vote Now