Heres why Tony Allen Deserves Defensive Player of the Year Consideration

A devastating defender his entire career, this is the year Memphis Grizzlies wing Tony Allen deserves to raise the Defensive Player of the Year trophy.

Tony Allen, affectionately referred to as “The Grindfather” by the Memphis Grizzlies‘ faithful, has been locking down the best offensive players in the NBA throughout the season.

He’s led a stingy defense, which has helped put his squad in prime playoff position and near the top of all major defensive statistical rankings .

Allen has done this throughout his tenure in Memphis. He’s been selected to the All-Defensive team on five separate occasions and there’s no doubt he will one day have his No. 9 hanging from the rafters of the FedExForum.

The one accolade that Allen needs to solidify himself as one of the best defenders ever is a Defensive Player of the Year nod.

Winning individual awards can seem unnecessary to cement a player’s legacy, but it has changed the viewpoint on numerous individual’s careers. Great defensive players have been snubbed for the award in the past.

Two examples include Chicago Bulls Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen and San Antonio Spurs great Bruce Bowen. Much like Allen, they were consistently nightmares for opposing scorers on the perimeter, but the award alluded them.

It made a difference about how people perceived them as players —  if they were just great for their time or all-time great.

This season Allen could earn his way into the Defensive Player of the Year conversation with his individual play and the performance of the Grizzlies defense as a unit.

In comparison to San Antonio Spurs star Kawhi Leonard, who has been named the Defensive Player of the Year each of the past two seasons, Allen matches up favorably.

Allen is currently ahead of Leonard in several defensive categories, while Allen has played 49 games this season and Leonard has played in 51.

Both Allen and Leonard average 1.8 steals per game, while Allen is 14th in total steals with 86 and Leonard is at seventh with 92. They also measure up in advanced stats as well.

 
Player Season Age G DRB% STL% BLK% DWS DBPM
Tony Allen 2016-17 35 49 13.8 3.3 1.7 2.3 2.9
Kawhi Leonard 2016-17 25 51 15.5 2.7 1.8 3.2 1.3

The Grizzlies also stack up well against the Spurs defense statistically and Tony Allen is no small part of that.

Opponent Per Game Stats Table
Team FG% 3P% TOV PTS
San Antonio Spurs .441 .341 14.5 98.4
Memphis Grizzlies .436 .343 14.7 99.5
League Average .456 .359 14.0 105.5
Provided by Basketball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 2/11/2017.

Allen does compare statistically to other defensive stoppers in the league and his play makes a difference for his team — statistically and in the standings.

The problem is that he does not get the same recognition as Leonard or Golden State Warriors’ Draymond Green who play for elite teams, nor does he have the benefit of manning the middle and compiling the numbers that defensive big men do on a nightly basis.

Allen needs to compile a large amount of steals on a nightly basis to get noticed for the award.

Another All-Defensive team selection is almost certain for Allen, but being recognized as the NBA’s premiere defender could put an exclamation point on the defensive specialist’s career.

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