Bucks

Allen’s Inconsistent Play as Bad as NBA’s Inconsistent Rulings

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The Milwaukee Bucks have been trending in an unfamiliar direction lately.

Many fans across the Good Land are still getting used to the Bucks being the defending champs. Hopefully that sense of unfamiliarity won’t last very long as the Bucks push towards a repeat. Surely, the season-long inconsistencies from the team have dampened fans’ emotions thus far, but another assumption ought to be short lived is the narrative that the Bucks are a “dirty team”, defending a league menace.

On Sunday, the NBA hit Grayson Allen with a one-game suspension for his Flagrant 2 foul on Chicago’s Alex Caruso.

A suspension that, when compared to other fouls in recent memory, also bares a bit of inconsistency.

But we’ll talk about that later.

Was it a clean play? Not at all. But are any fouls clean? Ehh, not really.

While casual fans around the game have generated their own opinions on Allen’s hard foul, the Bucks’ focus is primarily about his everyday play.

ALLEN’S HOT START COOLED IN WINTER MONTHS

The Bucks acquisition of Allen in August was a more than necessary addition. With Donte DiVincenzo beginning this season on the shelf, Allen arrived as a stellar alternate in the Bucks’ starting five. As the early season progressed, it appeared that Allen was emerging as Donte’s possible replacement.

Allen has played in 41 games this season, averaging 11.8 points per game– 1.2 more than he averaged last season for the Grizzlies. In his first 20 games as a Buck, Allen averaged 14.2 points per game. In his last 20 games prior to his ejection against the Bulls, Allen was only averaging 9.2/game.

After a tremendous month of November averaging 13.9 points per game, Grayson slumped into a forgetful December. Although he recorded a season-high 25 points with seven made threes against the Pelicans on December 17th, Mike Budenholzer did not play Allen the following two games.

He finished the holiday month averaging just 8.8 points per game, including a two-point Christmas day dud where he missed all four of his field-goal attempts.

Allen’s 11 points per game in the month of January is not very telling. After missing four games for COVID-19 protocol, resting a game for hip soreness, and now having served his suspension, Allen has only played in seven games this month.

As Grayson’s inconsistency is under radar, the Bucks are hoping this recent stretch wont manifest into a permanent shooting stagnation. Milwaukee is hopeful that his foul on Caruso wont be anything more than just another stain on his player reputation. However, the Internet and social media are famously unforgiving.

DIRTY DUKE REPUTATION

Bucks fans were hit with mixed emotions when Grayson Allen was dealt to Milwaukee. Well, at least to those who are also allegiant to the Wisconsin Badgers. None of them need to be reminded of Allen’s college reputation. Mostly, it’s because of the painful memories of losing the National Championship game.

But also for one very obvious reason– it happened while he was in college.

Without excluding any missed or made attempts of committing dirty plays, Allen’s young NBA career has been rather quiet. He could have spent every day of his professional tenure being as squeaky clean as a Wisconsin cheese curd and it still wouldn’t matter today. His hard foul on Caruso may end up being the portrayal of his entire NBA career.

From former NBA players to social-media trolls, people are running wild with their opinionated takes.

https://twitter.com/andrewbogut/status/1485739058517385217

Although countless NBA fans will now consider Allen a league villain, his Bucks’ teammates feel the opposite.

It’s also very plausible that his reputation influenced his suspension by the NBA.

INCONSISTENT SUSPENSIONS

Let’s consider the three players who have been issued one-game suspensions this season. The latest suspension prior to Allen’s was LeBron James and Isaiah Stewart. LeBron was issued a one-game suspension for hitting Stewart in the face after an attempted box-out at the free-throw line. Stewart was issued a two-game suspension for his unsportsmanlike conduct.

Some believe Stewart’s didn’t deserve any punishment. But if there weren’t so many guys on the court holding him back, who knows what Stewart would have attempted.

I know he’s supposed to be “the King,” but there’s no pass on this one. LeBron clearly went for unnecessary contact, which resulted in a chaotic scene that nearly ended the game.

The other notorious incident of the season took place in Denver between reigning MVP Nikola Jokic and Markieff Morris.

Now let’s be clear. Like Allen, Markieff Morris was issued a Flagrant-2 foul and received a $500,000 fine, even though his play resulted in a much more dangerous altercation than Grayson’s foul. And even if Jokic’s retaliation could be considered justified, he still charged another player and intentionally tried to injure him. Which he did.

It’s not very clear what makes Jokic’s or LeBron’s fouls any less dirty or dangerous than Grayson’s. Maybe Jokic received a slap on the wrist because he just won an MVP award? Could the NBA even fathom suspending LeBron James for more than one game?

Perhaps it’s a bit of stretch to trolley down that road of assumptions. But when Allen’s foul is considered dirty and these attempted maulings of Giannis Antetokounmpo are seen as common, this theory doesn’t seem too far stretched anymore.

While we’re at it, let’s also retire the idea that Giannis is a dirty player.

NO LOOKING BACK FOR ALLEN, BUCKS

With Allen’s suspension done, the Bucks will approximately be back to full strength. If Allen wants to establish himself as the everyday starter for the Bucks over Donte DiVincenzo, then his output must be more consistent.

Fans shouldn’t expect any superstar performances or SportsCenter highlights by Grayson Allen. They will, however, anticipate the return of a reliable scorer who can handle the ball.

About Mike Konicek

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