Rookie Allen a pleasant surprise for Sixers
PHILADELPHIA -- From obscure second-round draft pick to key contributor in the NBA playoffs.
Allen had 19 DNP-CDs and was inactive for four other regular-season games.
Now, he’s expected to play a major role once again in Game 3 of the postseason against the top-seeded Chicago Bulls.
“I’ve never tried to get too high or too low,” said Allen, who played four seasons for nearby Temple University where he became the school’s all-time leading rebounder (1,147). “Even when I wasn’t playing, I came in and worked hard and did everything I could to prepare. I was hoping for a chance.”
Allen has sure taken advantage of this opportunity.
The 6-foor-9 Allen started Game 1 in Chicago and had four points and six rebounds. In Game 2, he came with 11 points and nine rebounds.
Not bad for a late second-round pick.
If the Sixers harbor a chance of stealing this series, they will need at least much production from their rookie.
“I’ve treated the playoffs the same way as the regular season,” Allen said. “I haven’t been caught up in the atmosphere or bigger stakes or anything like that. I’m really just going out and playing my game. It does feel good knowing that the coaches have a lot of confidence in me. That has helped me and it has felt good very good to contribute.”
As a junior at Temple, Allen became the first player in program to average a double-double since Ollie Johnson in 1970-71. He averaged 11.5 points and 8.6 rebounds as a senior.
Many NBA teams were reluctant to take a chance because of his size and the perception that he lacked energy.
“I heard all those things about my motor,” Allen said smiling. “I was excited when the Sixers drafted me and I spoke about that with coach (Doug) Collins. We talked about that a lot. He pushes me to be better every day and I appreciate that. Look at the results. I’m playing meaningful minutes in the playoffs.”