Because he’s a great defender. Just ask Kobe. You’ll know
Even one of the greatest scorers in the NBA had a hard time playing against Tony Allen.
Who the hell is Tony Allen anyway and why is his jersey getting a retirement in Memphis when the New Orleans Pelicans, a team where Allen is now playing for, visits the Grizzlies for the first time since Allen and Memphis parted ways?
For starters, Tony Allen is a guy whose points per game average only reached double figures once, during the 2006-2007 season, his 3rd in the league with the Boston Celtics when he normed 11 points per game. Despite being a part of the Celtics team that won the 2008 NBA championship against Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers, despite the fact that Tony Allen has yet to win an MVP award, the one thing which the Grizzlies loved and the opponents’ best offensive players hate and will continue to hate about Tony Allen is the way he makes the player he is guarding frustrated with his defense.
To give you an idea as to how even the NBA acknowledged the fact that Tony Allen is indeed, among the elite stoppers that the league has ever seen, the “GrindFather” a nickname that was given to Allen, was included in the NBA All-Defensive Team, 6 times- 3 with the 1st All-Defensive Team and 3 with the 2nd All-Defensive Team.
He also led the league in steals per game, twice, the recent one being last season when he stole the ball 3 times on the average. He ranked 2nd among active players in steals and was also in the top 10 in that category, for 5 seasons. If any of you don’t think Tony Allen deserves a jersey retirement ceremony for his great defensive efforts during his playing years with Memphis, then nothing will.
If there is one scorer, one of the best and most creative scorers to step foot in the NBA- who appreciates Tony Allen for the kind of defensive player that he is, that player is none other than the Black Mamba himself, Kobe Bryant. In fact, Kobe even admitted back in 2015 that Tony Allen was one of the few guys who caused him troubles during his 2-decade stint with the Lakers. Kobe has, in fact, considered Allen as the “Kobe Stopper” and even sent the latter a pair of signed sneakers as a token of appreciation and mutual respect.
Tony Allen has yet to win a Defensive Player of the Year award- something that basketball pundits around the world thought he deserves more than any defenders in the NBA. He may never get to win one with the Pelicans but one thing is sure: he will continue to bring in the same level of defensive intensity as well as his winning track once the 2017-2018 season kicks off soon because when you are guarded by a Tony Allen, chances are: you will have a long shooting night.
There’s no shortcut to being a premier defender especially with the likes of Kevin Durant and LeBron James around. There’s none. Really. If you want to learn how to defend the best player of your opponents and you don’t have the height, look at Tony Allen, folks.
Watch and learn from one of the best wing defenders in the history of the NBA.