Analyzing Jarrett Allen, D.J. Wilson, and Others in a Game Between Michigan and Texas

December 11, 2016

by Alan Lu

I decided to take the time to watch the Michigan-Texas game that was played several days ago by viewing it on WatchESPN, as this was on just a half an hour ahead of the Duke-Florida match.   It presented an opportunity to watch potential lottery pick, Texas freshman center Jarrett Allen, as well as Michigan’s rising redshirt sophomore center, D.J. Wilson.  This was a way to get a feel for both of the prospects’ strengths and weaknesses, as I was able to analyze their games in depth.  Here are my observations on how both of them fared on this day.

Texas’ 6-11 freshman center, Jarrett Allen did not have a great game against Michigan, but the most astonishing aspect of watching him play was that, he is very much more like a traditional low post player rather than being a very athletic, high energy big man out on the court.  Allen showed a decent ability to score in the low post.  When he is being assertive, he can score on strong, quick drop step moves, as he can overpower opposing defenders to get to the hoop.  Allen has very good strength, and he has a good first step that can allow him to get to the basket.

On the other hand, Allen struggled more when he does not make a quick initial move from the post.  He struggled to knock down jump hooks, as he especially had trouble when opponents would prevent him from getting deep position on the block.

He also showed an adequate ability to score on hustle plays.  On one offensive possession, Allen raced down the court quickly to score on a tip in, as he showed good motor that time.  He also rolled to the rim once, but he only showed average acceleration that time as he did not roll hard to the hoop on that occasion.  But on one play, Allen missed on a pivot, step through move after getting an offensive rebound for his team.

Allen though, did not show much of a face-up game.  His man would often sag several feet off of him, as he would get plenty of space to shoot the basketball or to drive to the hoop, but Allen would either not call for the ball, and when he would get the ball from outside the paint, he would just promptly pass to a teammate instead.  He also committed too many turnovers on offense.  Allen did show some passing skills, despite running into turnover trouble.  He was able to make one good pass, as he threw a bounce pass from the post to hit a cutter to set up a score.

However, most of Allen’s turnovers resulted from him trying to post up.  He dribbled off his own leg in the post to commit one, he also got stripped by an opponent when trapped out of the post another time, and he also committed a clear out foul in the post to commit his third foul of the game on a separate occasion.   He also set a moving screen early in the game.

Allen struggled to rebound the basketball consistently against Michigan.  He did show a solid ability to crash the offensive glass, as he was able to get opportunities to score on put backs afterwards.  He also showed good leaping skills to nab one defensive board.  However, Allen did not often collect boards for a player his size, and he also once committed a foul on a put back attempt that led him to commit his fourth foul of the game.

Allen had his ups and downs on the defensive end.  For the positives, he is a long, athletic big man that can use his instincts to come away with his fair share of blocks and steals.  Allen rotated once to block a shot off of a drive, and he will also play passing lanes to get steals and deflections.  On one play, Allen was able to stay with his man on a drive to force a miss on a pull-up jumper.

But he also had some focus problems, and he also struggled to guard quicker players.  Allen would sometimes be caught ball watching, and other times he would over help in the paint, which would lead him to allow scores to cutters and three-point shooters.  He also struggled to consistently defend quick moves off the dribble or in the post, as he did not move his feet very well laterally.

In general, Jarrett Allen did not have his best game, but he looked to be far more of a project player than initially expected.  He only seemed willing to score when he was either in the post or off of hustle plays around the basket, and he also struggled with his court vision when he would look to make moves from the block.

He also did not consistently rebound or defend well, as he had some noticeable lapses defensively, and he also picked up some bad fouls in this game.  Right now, though Jarrett Allen is being considered to go in the lottery, that probably is too high for him at the moment, as he will have to improve significantly, especially in the finer points of the game.

Michigan’s 6-10 redshirt sophomore center D.J. Wilson had a good showing in his team’s 53-50 victory over Texas.  He generally excelled as a scorer on off-ball, motion plays and defended well, but the biggest revelation was how much he has improved his jump shot recently, as he could develop into becoming a reliable stretch big in the NBA.  Wilson did a very good job of knocking down jumpers throughout the game.  On his first shot attempt, he initially cut to the hoop, and quickly moved off the ball to score on a baseline mid-range jumper off the catch.

He also showed a solid ability to make threes from beyond the arc.  Wilson was able to make an open spot up three in the corner.  On another occasion, Wilson faded to the corner, and managed to make a quick open three off the catch.  With his size and shooting skills, Wilson could use his outside shooting skills to his advantage, as he can easily shoot over the top of defenders, and take advantage when his opponents leave him open when he is behind the three-point line.

Plus, he excelled at scoring on hustle plays.  Wilson was able to make a quick backdoor cut to the hoop to score on a thunderous dunk one time.  Another instance, he ran the floor very well, and he managed to score on a tough, contorted leaner on a fast break.  Wilson generally ran the floor hard, and he would cut to the hoop, and he would generally move off the ball even if his teammates were not always able to get him the basketball.

However, Wilson showed either a reluctance to create his own shot in the half-court, or perhaps an inability to do so against Texas.  He did try to score off the dribble once in this game, as it resulted in his only miss.  On this play, he used a pump fake and made a quick hesitation move, but he missed on a contested pull-up, mid-range jumper.

But other times, when defenders would guard him tightly when he would attempt to cut or get scores on off-ball motion plays, Wilson ended up not getting the basketball for stretches.  Adding to that, in this game, Wilson did not look to post up at any point against Texas.  Unlike Jarrett Allen, Wilson never looked to score in the low post, as he is much more like a perimeter player than a classic bruiser type on offense.

Wilson also showcased fairly good playmaking skills.  He was able to collect two assists, and on one play, he threw a sharp, accurate entry pass to a big man to set up a score.  Wilson generally played unselfishly as he would look to find open shooters.  He also did not turn the ball over.  However, he generally would pass up shots if he would either be chased off the three-point line, or if he was not able to get opportunities to score on close range baskets off of hustle plays.

Like Allen, Wilson did not rebound the ball well consistently, but he was able to help get his team a couple of solid boards.  He possesses solid leaping skills, as he can get some tough defensive rebounds in traffic, and he also can tip a ball to a teammate to help his team get another defensive board.  However, he would struggle to consistently get tough boards at times, as he would get boxed out, and he tended to have trouble collecting rebounds when going up against stronger players.  Wilson also displayed very good defensive skills.  He was quite active on this end of the court, and he showed solid length, athletic ability, and instincts to help his team get blocks and steals.

He showed a good ability to defend drives, as he would get blocks and steals, and he would also make solid rotations to force misses.  He would move his feet to stay with his opponents on drive, use his length to knock balls away from opposing ball handlers, and he also would showcase solid range, athletic ability, and timing to swat shots to prevent opponents from scoring on layups.

Wilson also showed a good ability to defend the post.  On one such play, he fronted the post and jumped the pass by using his length and anticipation skills to get a steal.   Wilson also would hold his ground to force misses when defending the low post.  But sometimes, he would get beat on quick drop step moves, and late in the game he also committed a foul when defending the post.

But he occasionally struggled to defend shooters.  Sometimes, Wilson would make a good rotation and use his length, footwork, and quickness to force misses when defending out on the perimeter.  However, there were other times where he would give up too much space to allow jump shooters to knock down shots.  Then later in the game, he would overcompensate and then be too aggressive, and on one play, he ended up fouling a jump shooter to give the other team more free throws.

In general, D.J. Wilson is an interesting prospect, as he has a unique skill package that could allow him to thrive in the NBA.  He is an athletic big man that can shoot, block shots, and he also can score on hustle plays.  He seems to have a fairly good feel for the game, and he tends to play mostly a mistake free brand of basketball.

However, he also may not take enough chances offensively, as there were plenty of times where he did not look to create his own shot in the half court, or call for the ball on offense.  Despite that, Wilson appears to have the ability to become a very good player in the NBA, and he could end being a Walter McCarty type in the association.

Other Notes:

Michigan’s 6-11 sophomore forward, Moritz Wagner had a solid game in a narrow win for his team over Texas.  He is an athletic, skilled big man that possesses the ability to score in the post, off the dribble, as well as off of jumpers.  He has a very good first step off the dribble, and on one such play late in the game, he exploded to the hoop to throw down a dunk that didn’t count, but it was relevant because he managed to get Jarrett Allen to commit his 5th foul of the game, as his opponent ended up fouling out.

Wagner is also a very good offensive rebounder, and he can frequently score on put backs.  Plus, he moves his feet fairly well, and he can stay with his opponents on drives to force misses.  Late in the game, he was able to stay with his man when defending a drive, and he managed to make a key block to get a key stop to help his team down the stretch.  Right now, Moritz Wagner may not have a whole lot of draft stock right now, but he is a player that has plenty of skills, and he could potentially be a late first to second round prospect in 2018.

Texas’ 6-7 sophomore forward, Tevin Mack also showcased some interesting skills in this game against Michigan.  He had a terrific first half, which includes him making two really nifty baskets to close the half, and he went on to score 18 points, make 3 threes, and collect 5 rebounds in his team’s loss to the Wolverines.

Mack showed a great ability to make threes off of screens.  He is fast and he will run very quickly to tire out his defenders, and he can make open threes off of quick curls and ball screens.  Plus, he was able to make a deep three over Wilson another time, as he did so from NBA distance.  Wilson has a quick release, and he has very good range on his shot, but his strong ability to make outside shots off of screens could enable him to end up in the NBA.

He also was able to make one basket on a strong fast break drive to the hoop, as he was able to get a score and an extra free throw afterwards on the play.  Mack is a solid scorer in the open court, and he has the strength, body control, and the shooting touch to finish numerous plays in traffic.

He also played solid defense.  He defended Zak Irvin for most of the game, and he was able to hold him to a bad shooting night.  Mack would fight through a maze of picks to stay with his man, and he would contest shots to force misses.  Right now, Tevin Mack may not be on many people’s draft boards, but he may have an interesting skill set, as he could potentially project into being an Anthony Morrow type of player in the NBA.

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