Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Best wing defender in the league right here.
The deal: four years, $20 million
If Tony Allen had a jump shot, he would be way higher on this list. Maybe as high as No. 2.
With all due respect to Paul George and LeBron James, Allen is the league's best perimeter defender, and it's not even all that close. Allen's quick, he's strong enough to battle with bigger wings, he fights through screens like none other and no player in the league seems to frustrate elite scorers more.
The Memphis Grizzlies' defense was nearly seven points per 100 possessions better when Allen was on the court, roughly the difference that exists between their second-ranked defense and the Los Angeles Lakers' 20th-ranked defense (per Basketball-Reference).
That's a massive swing, and it shows just how valuable Allen is on that end of the court.
The problem is that Allen has no outside shot to speak of—he hit 13 percent of his 24 three-pointers last season—and that often gums up the Memphis offense. It's not uncommon to see Allen's man cheat off him and break up possessions, killing the Memphis offense for long stretches.
Last season, the Grizzlies juggled Allen and sharpshooting wing Quincy Pondexter, and it will be interesting to see how they handle the minutes spread this year.
Even without a jumper, Allen has tremendous value, and he exemplifies the toughness and “grit and grind” mentality of the Grizzlies. And in the unlikely event that he does start hitting from outside...look out.