The Indiana Pacers traded away former franchise player Danny Granger at the trading deadline last season, and Evan Turner was considered the only valuable piece that the Pacers got in return with LaVoy Allen being a filler. Heading into the 2014 season, Turner is labeled as a complete bust and Allen is the piece that was re-signed to come back for this season. With the news that Ian Mahinmi will be out 2-3 months due to a shoulder injury, could Allen finally receive a chance to earn minutes in the rotation?
Allen didn’t play too much with the Pacers last season after they acquired him, but he was effective when they did. He played in just 14 total games, and ended up averaging 8.0 minutes per game in those appearances. It will be interesting to see whether Frank Vogel gives him the backup center minutes, or whether he splits them with undrafted rookie Shayne Whittington.
Needless to say, Allen’s averages with the Pacers were not very high last season due to playing just eight minutes per game. During his 51-game tenure with the 76ers, he averaged 5.2 points and 5.4 rebounds per game in 18.8 minutes. Rebounding is Allen’s primary skill, but he has developed a fairly consistent mid-range jumper and has an improving post game as well.
Mahinmi is expected to return just before the season arrives, but could miss up to 12-15 games into the season as well. Either way, the Pacers are going to be seeing a lot of Allen during camp and the preseason, and that could be a way for him to earn playing time. He may not end up playing to the level that many are hoping, but the limited minutes that he did get last season with the Pacers left fans wanting to see more.
There is no doubt that Allen has the potential to be a solid backup big man for the Pacers this season if they need him. He has a great work ethic, and received glowing praise from Larry Bird this past offseason when the Pacers decided to re-sign him. It will be very intriguing to see how he performs in training camp and preseason action, but he could be looking at a chance to prove himself to Vogel and the Pacers’ coaching staff.