EMPIRE OF THE SUNS

Grayson Allen’s diverse offense has boosted 3-point shooting, trade rumors

Jan 18, 2024, 4:48 PM

Grayson Allen drives against the Hornets in a Suns win...

Grayson Allen #8 of the Phoenix Suns drives the ball past Brandon Miller #24 of the Charlotte Hornets during the first half of the NBA game at Footprint Center on December 29, 2023 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — Grayson Allen’s name is being tossed around the rumor-mill less than a month before the NBA trade deadline because he’s on a reasonable, expiring contract for a team that has little else to deal. The Phoenix Suns guard also happens to be playing really, really well, helping his value to his current team.

Allen is leading the NBA by shooting 48.0% from deep. He’s taking on tough defensive assignments alongside Devin Booker and Bradley Beal.

And yet it’s the shooting guard’s driving while playing with the Big Three of Booker, Beal and Kevin Durant that’s getting more run than ever. It’s helping diversify his own offense, but at a grander scale, it’s helping Phoenix tap into an offense that’s far from blossomed.

Allen is shooting 37.7% of his shots from two-point range, including a career-best 20.7% within three feet, according to Basketball-Reference.com.

It’s a small number, but every bit of balance appears to have helped his efficiency.

“It’s a little bit different style of play,” Allen said, comparing this team to his Milwaukee Bucks of 2022-23. “When we have four or five shooters spacing the floors and we get in the drive-and-kick, you can get multiple drives in, multiple actions, multiple kick(s). When you’re playing with Giannis (Antetokounmpo), 70-80% of the time, (the opponent is) going to have five people in the paint because of Giannis. … Giannis collapses five people into the paint. You don’t need to re-attack that.

“With us, creating a lot of kick-aheads, where I’m able to drive in transition, a lot of that swing-swing where I’m attacking the closeout. And in the last month or so (I’m) getting run off the three-point line a lot more.”

Sort of. He’s still getting up plenty of open threes.

Allen’s three-point attempts have bumped upward in eight games in January (7.5) compared to November (4.8) and December (5.6) as the Suns put its healthy stars around him.

The boost has come in the corners, where he’s taking 29.2% of his threes from, up nearly 9% from last year with the Bucks. Allen is shooting 55.9% from the corners, according to Basketball-Reference.

But to his point, he’s also driving and passing out of drives more. His overall assists per game have increased from 2.8 and 2.6 the last two months, respectively, to 3.3 in January.

Allen is qualified in volume for the illustrious 50-40-90 club of players who have shot above 50% overall, above 40% from three and above 90% from the foul stripe.

Only nine players in NBA history have reached that mark for a full season, including teammate Kevin Durant last year.

Overall, Allen is averaging 13.9 points and 2.9 assists per game — not to mention an impressive 0.7 blocks for a 6-foot-4 guard (he said that’s mostly off strong helpside defense).

Allen is paid $8.5 million this year, but if the Suns even end up paying double to him as a free agent, it could cost the franchise upward of $60 million or more, depending on how deep into the luxury tax they are.

Which is why trade rumors are circulating around Allen as the Suns aim to fortify their roster. Though it could be tough for them to trade one of their most reliable — and best — overall players.

“My name has been in someone’s tweet every year I’ve been in the league,” Allen said. “I hardly pay any attention to it. Usually, it brings a smile to my face because it’s a little funny. I’ve loved playing here this season, I love playing with this team, I don’t want to be traded. … Usually it means someone else wants you. Hopefully, that’s the case and it’s not the team you play for wants to get rid of you.”

“Leading the league in three-point percentage, I haven’t like really been paying attention (to) much,” he said. “I was just talking to my wife the other day about planning our All-Star break, not even thinking that about being a possibility. For now, we’re planning to get in a nice vacation.”

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Grayson Allen’s diverse offense has boosted 3-point shooting, trade rumors