Amidst this beautifully surprising Cavaliers season, where a team we hoped might make a play-in game for the NBA playoffs, has turned into one of the most exciting teams to watch in the entire Association. Despite having only one nationally televised game, a new star has burst onto the scene. A leader in the locker room, a dominant center, a player who has lead this Cavs team to wins and is as of this writing are 1.5 games back of 1st place. A man who has captured the hearts of Cavs fans, and has made waves in the Media. His name? Jarrett Allen!
The Cavaliers acquired Allen last season during the Nets-Rockets trade for James Harden. Allen needed to be cleared off of the Nets roster and the Cavs were happy to help facilitate that deal by taking the 22-year old center (now 23). He flashed glimpses of stardom during his time with the Nets, but no one was fully prepared for what he would become in less than a years time.
Jarrett Allen is the embodiment of what a star player is. He is a work horse. He strives to be better every game. He wants to be coached. He wants to win. He wants to lead while also listening to other leaders. His improvement over last season is a testament to his will to be better and our coaching staff challenging him to be the player he wants to be.
Last season Allen had 25 double doubles in 63 games. This season he has 28 in just 46 games played thus far. He is averaging 17 points, 11 rebounds, 2 blocks, and a steal per game. His NBA ranks this season are off the charts. He is 8th in total rebounds, 7th in offensive rebounds, 13th in blocks, and 13th in total PER. (The PER sums up all a player's positive accomplishments, subtracts the negative accomplishments, and returns a per-minute rating of a player’s performance.) Its safe to say, at just 23 years of age, he is only going to get better, which is scary to say.
While he may have been snubbed for the All-Star game this season (twice), he is Cleveland’s All-Star. He has made social media explode with fans letting him know that he is a true All-Star. His teammates, especially Kevin Love, let him know he’s an All-Star no matter what. Many other players around the league have acknowledged his snub. However, he is the embodiment of Cleveland. A hard worker. A player who puts team first. For all his league ranks the one metric that can’t be measured is heart for which he would be ranked first.
Just like Cleveland, I believe Jarrett Allen will play the rest of this season with a massive chip on his shoulder. Showing the world he is a star. Remember who he plays for. “Cleveland Against the World” is not just a saying, it’s a state of mind.
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