Seth Allen’s 2013-14 season was massively successful on an individual scale, yet terribly disappointing on a more macro, team scale. No player desires to start the year of hobbled after a long offseason of hard work, but that’s exactly what happened to Mr. Allen. A broken foot sidelined Allen for about half of Maryland’s games, including the first twenty and he was forced to get back up to speed and in shape in a sharpish fashion.
Thus, his season can be broken up into about three different, very distinct, segments: recovery, few-days rest, and fully recovered. These are odd names for segments, but they’re meant to be taken literally because Allen performed drastically differently in all three, to the point where it’s worth breaking them down individually to understand his impact.
The first, his recovery, lasted about eight games. Why eight, because it was clear during those eight games that Allen didn’t quite have his legs underneath him right away. His minutes were limited, he was terrible on defense, and Allen wasn’t capable of sustaining high play for very long without getting winded. As such, seven of his first eight games Allen failed to shoot over 45% from the floor, and didn’t score in double figures during half those contests either.
The second segment, which kind of combines the first and third ones, exemplifies just how out of basketball shape Allen was during the year. His first eight games of poor shooting were clear evidence of a shooter who didn’t have his legs back with any sort of consistency. For example, Allen had 15 points on 5-of-9 shooting against Virginia Tech, but just a couple days later against North Carolina, he was a paltry 4-of-13 overall. Another example is the stretch of games Allen played from Virginia to Wake Forest. During those contests, Allen went 3-of-18 from deep, and it’s no surprise that the poor shooting coincided with having to play three games in eight days.
The third and final segment for Allen was the one Maryland fans can get excited for. The fully healthy Allen was a legitimate problem for opposing teams. Over the final nine games, Allen averaged almost 17 points per game, shot 44% from the floor, and only had two turnovers while playing more minutes than he ever had. In eight of those nine games, Allen hit two or more three pointers, including 11 against Florida State over two games, and 7 against Syracuse when they were a top five team nationally.
It was evident by his play at the end of the season that this was the Allen Maryland fans deserved to start the year, the one that could have changed the tides. Mark Turgeon wasn’t lying when he said it was rough losing Allen to start the year because of how high a level he had been playing at. He looked amazing, plain and simple. If Wells was the best player on the roster last year, late-season Allen was either option 1B or a very close second.
The Good Stuff
The thing to remember with Seth Allen is that everything you get out of this kid is just icing on the cake. What we can’t forget is that 247sports had Allen ranked as the 184th best player in his class; someone who wasn’t supposed to make much of an impact in a meaningful manner for awhile. Instead, Allen has just gotten stronger, faster, and smarter as a player. Of all Maryland’s 2012 recruits, the least likely one has also been the best.
Statistically speaking, Allen raised his shooting percentage by only about 2% (38 to 40 per cent), but as I mentioned before, you almost have to ignore the first few games he came back. Once Allen got his legs back entirely, he was shooting significantly better for a guard, and playing like a high level one at that. But regardless of whether or not you want to count his first half and second half stats, there was an undeniable improvement in his long range shot. Allen upped that one from 31% to a whopping 38% despite taking twice as many threes.
That’s scary for two reasons. The first is the notion that Allen may still not have reached his potential as a shooter. Allen upped the ante for himself after this season, and should his improvement continue at this trajectory, we could be looking at a star point guard next year and one of the most dangerous players in the country.
It’s also scary because that sharpshooting could easily be an anomaly as well. Allen was light’s out in many respects some games, but others he just wasn’t there. If we’re doing an honest assessment of Allen, we have to count his entire body of work, and to be frank the first half wasn’t great. He took a lot of deep threes that were lazily hoisted, and had no business hitting some of the heroic shot attempts he took. There were times where you just had to shrug your shoulders and accept that he was hot, rather than the attempts being good.
Still, Allen’s improvement wasn’t just in his shooting. His freshman year, Allen accounted for 12% of Maryland’s turnovers (1.9), but this year he was only around 8% despite averaging significantly more minutes. And consider that Allen played almost 200 fewer minutes than his freshman year (due to injury), and yet he still accounted for a higher percentage of the team’s points overall. All in all, Allen’s season was successful as heck.
The less impressive stuff for Allen had much less to do with his offensive game and a lot more to do with his defense. It was difficult to really gauge Allen’s defensive ability last season because of his injury and how he clearly balanced intensity on both ends of the floor to conserve energy. When Allen first came back, he clearly slacked off on defense and a number of opposing offenses gave him fits.
As the season progressed, though, Allen definitely improved. He still wasn’t great at closing out or fighting through screens, and he almost never puts his hands up, but Allen was ultimately better. But that doesn’t mean Allen’s defense can be viewed positively.
For one, Allen’s steals took a big hit from the quick hands he had last year. Allen had 36 steals his freshman year, and yet his sophomore total plummeted to 18. That’s a significant drop off, and per minute wise it’s just as bad, so I’m a bit unsure as to why Allen wasn’t as aggressive at getting balls this season.
Allen’s rebounding numbers also took a steep drop off, despite a lot more rebounds being made available with the departure of two solid rebounders in Padgett and Len. Allen grabbed on 3.2% of Maryland’s total rebounds, which is a paltry number for even a guard. Allen grabbed around 5% of them his freshman year, but for a guy who is quick enough to push the ball in transition as often as possible, Allen didn’t seemingly grab many rebounds.
Allen gave everyone and their mother confidence that he’s still not hit his peak, and regardless of the recruits being brought in, his place with this team as a starter is secure. Another offseason working on his midrange shot, as well as his defensive ability, and Allen could be looking at an All-B1G berth, and that isn’t hyperbole.