John Allen had quite the D-League experience before finally landing in Sioux Falls to play for the Skyforce last season. After finishing up his senior season at Western Washington University, he went undrafted in the 2013 NBA Draft. He kept working on his game, attending to D-League tryouts, and when it came time for the D-League Draft, he was selected in the fourth round by the Texas Legends.
Three days after being drafted by the Legends, Allen was sent to the Santa Cruz Warriors in a trade -- 14 days later, the Warriors waived Allen, and then 14 days after that, he was claimed off waives by the Skyforce. Needless to say, it was not an ideal situation for him starting off his career as a professional basketball player.
However, Allen rolled with it and got off to a blazing start in the D-League. In his first three games. he was logged 25.3 per contest and in that time averaged 17 points, 4.3 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game while shooting 56% percent overall (67% from deep) and 90% from the charity stripe. Allen did turn the ball over at a high rate however, averaging 5.0 a game over that same span. Given all of that the team went 2-1 in those games, so things were going well.
When asked about his experience with Sioux Falls by RidiculousUpside.com, he said, "It was a lot of fun at the beginning. I was getting to play a lot and it was just an experience to get to play with that kind of competition."
Unfortunately after those first three games, Allen was relegated to a reserve role, and finished the season playing 21 games before he was eventually waived by the team on February 10, 2014. He owned averages of 12.2 minutes, 5.8 points, 1.9 rebounds and 1.9 assists in those 21 games. The guard was very efficient in his short time and finished with a true shooting percentage of 56% -- for reference, the average in the NBA was 54% last season.
Looking back on the experience, the WWU guard alluded to the biggest difference he saw once he got to the pros.
"When I first got to Sioux Falls it was dealing with all of the different personalities. You know when you're in college everyone is playing for the name on the jersey and when you get to the professional level people are playing for a paycheck, so it's a little different especially as a point guard. You have to manage those things and keep everyone happy, so it was a learning experience for me."
Allen is staying sharp during this offseason time by playing in the ever-growing Seattle Pro-Am (known to most as the Jamal Crawford Pro-Am). This is his third summer playing in the event and he talked about the joy of being invited.
"It's second to none especially in this city. You know, Jamal helps everybody out and puts us on and it's just somethin' to be thankful for to play against competition like this. These are guys who play in the NBA and overseas so it's an exciting time of the year."
Allen had performed so well that he was selected for the Pro-Am's All-Star team and he got to play with special guests Wilson Chandler, Zach LaVine and Terrence Jones during the game. He credits the Pro-Am for preparing him for the D-League as well since he got to see what the physicality level and athleticism would be like beforehand.
So, he unfortunately didn't have the fairytale rookie season in the D-League, but that certainly isn't slowing him down one bit and he has some plans already in motion for the 2014-15 season. It doesn't sound like the D-League is one of the options at this time, but he also is leaving the door open for that in the future.
"Right now we're in talks negotiating with a couple of teams over in Europe [Switzerland, Germany and Hungary were all mentioned]. My agent lives in Spain, so I talk to him about once a week and he calls me and gives me a heads up; fills me in on what's happening, so we should know here in the next couple of weeks where I'll be playing."
We did discuss an option possibly being the D-League, but again it does not sound like that's a viable option for this upcoming season. Here's what Allen had to say about the D-League.
"I think down the road as I mature a little more and my game starts to mature more as well, I think I would definitely give it another shot if I thought I was ready to make a move and try to get into an NBA-type situation. They're starting to invest more in the D-League so guys are getting called up and it's looking like a real option to make the NBA."
RidiculousUpside.com will continue to follow up with John Allen over the summer and hopefully be able to provide updates as to where Allen will be playing next season once he signs.