New Suns guard Grayson Allen addresses his ‘dirty’ reputation, again

Oct 4, 2023, 8:35 AM

Grayson Allen #12 of the Milwaukee Bucks shoots against the Washington Wizards at Capital One Arena...

Grayson Allen #12 of the Milwaukee Bucks shoots against the Washington Wizards at Capital One Arena on March 5, 2023 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Grayson Allen doesn’t necessarily have the greatest reputation, but that didn’t stop the Phoenix Suns from trading for the guard on Sep. 27.

It traces back to Allen’s Duke days, when he was caught tripping multiple players. He was even suspended indefinitely — though it only lasted one game — after he tripped an Elon player.

That is in the past, Allen said during media day on Monday.

Allen, who was traded from the Milwaukee Bucks to the Suns last week in the Deandre Ayton-Damian Lillard blockbuster move, addressed his reputation during his introduction in Phoenix.

“I think most of it comes from Duke,” Allen told reporters Monday. “… I always say I did a ton of self-reflection back when I was at Duke, 99 percent of it was just immaturity and me being a kid in a man’s sport and a man’s position and just wasn’t ready to handle it.”

There have been some instances of more questionable matters in the NBA. Allen injured Chicago Bulls guard Alex Caruso two seasons ago while contesting a breakaway finish, and Allen also got into a scuffle with Bulls forward DeMar DeRozan last season.

“I think in the NBA I’ve conducted myself well,” Allen said. “I know there was an incident last year. You can believe me, might not. It was an accident. So I think once people watch me, and I’ve been to four different teams now, every spot I’ve been I feel like the fans kind of slowly change their mind and opinion (of me).

“So I’ll just leave that up to people. I don’t go out there and play to try to change minds or change opinions, but that seems to be what happens when I go new places. … But when people call me a competitor and someone who plays hard, I do live up to that and I go out every night and compete.”

The Suns added Allen, Jusuf Nurkic, Nassir Little and Keon Johnson while sending back Ayton and second-round pick Toumani Camara to the Portland Trail Blazers.

Despite all of Allen’s past issues, Suns head coach Frank Vogel on Monday spoke highly of Allen, calling him a “scrappy” player while acknowledging how few players have the talent and basketball IQ that Allen has.

“I think a lot of the stuff that (Vogel)’s talking about with being scrappy is just getting deflections, getting extra possessions for your team (and) making small little plays,” Allen said. “If you’re gonna be on the court, I feel like you got to do that and it helps in a lot of ways with being a winning team.

“Those kind of guys are really important to winning teams in my eyes. So if I can do that and score the ball a little bit or shoot, help out on offense, anything, like, I feel like I can help the team out in a big way.”

Allen has averaged 9.7 points, 2.8 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game over his five-year NBA career. The 27-year-old will likely serve in a reserve role behind guards Devin Booker and Bradley Beal.

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