The big man with the big ‘fro should probably be getting big minutes.
Brooklyn Nets center Jarrett Allen ran with his first opportunity to start a game this season — his team’s eighth of the year — posting a monster 19 points on 8-of-9 shooting from the field with 18 rebounds, three steals, and two blocks in a season-high 32 minutes of action on Tuesday night during a 130-96 beatdown of the Utah Jazz.
He was able to put those gaudy numbers up against one of the best defenders in the game in Jazz center Rudy Gobert, who recently signed a five-year, $208 million contract. That included two posterizing dunks on the domineering Frenchman nicknamed “The Stifle Tower.”
The secret to Allen’s success? A dietary change, apparently — which only shows the kind of attitude the 22-year-old brings to the Brooklyn locker room.
“Before the games, I’m normally a pesto on my pasta type of guy, but today, I went with alfredo sauce, so I really think that was the thing that turned my game on tonight.”
Nets head coach Steve Nash provided more of a basketball-centric outlook on the youngster’s performance.
“He was just so impactful. Incredible energy. Effective. Scored in traffic, scored through contact. Just did it all,” Nash said. “Really proud of him and we’ve seen him continue to develop, and tonight was a phenomenal game against a top-quality team and a top-quality center.”
Allen has often shown the promise of becoming a dominant rim protector over his first three NBA seasons, but Tuesday night suggests that he could be an imposing threat on either side of the floor.
It only amplifies the shouts of many claiming that Nash should be starting Allen every night over veteran DeAndre Jordan, who is averaging 4.4 points and 6.8 rebounds in seven fewer average minutes per night compared to Allen.
“Finally, this year, I’m starting to put it all together,” Allen said. “Knowing what I have to do, knowing I could still be more physical out there and not [get called for fouls], getting respect from the refs, that’s a thing. Just going out there, playing my game, being comfortable over the past few years.”
Allen has another big test on Thursday night as he faces All-Star center Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers.