WALTHAM -- No matter where he goes, Grayson Allen knows the questions are going to come about some of his not-so-great moments at Duke.
He finished his career as one of the school’s all-time leading scorers, but much of his success was overshadowed by a series of tripping incidents that will forever be part of his basketball narrative until he proves it is indeed a thing of the past.
Allen is making his best efforts to get that process going now as he works out for prospective NBA teams. Such as the Celtics, who hosted Allen and five other draft hopefuls on Friday
Just like the opinions of Allen are wide and varied, so is his draft status. Most mock drafts having him go anywhere from the late teens in the first round to the early portion of the second.
Indeed, Allen will likely be selected later in the first round of this month’s draft, then he would have been if he came out a year or two earlier.
But having spent four years at Duke, Allen believes that experience will prove vital to him having a long NBA career -- something that probably would not have happened if he came into the league earlier.
“I got to learn from [Blue Devils coach Mike Krzyzewski] for four years,” Allen said after his workout Friday. “I got to think through the game in so many different roles. My basketball IQ improved so much just by playing for him. I learned how to prepare like a pro, how to recover like a pro, how to live like a pro while at Duke. And I’m in a better spot to land and stick in the league. If I would have come out after my freshman or sophomore year, I would have been in a good spot but I would have had to get lucky in a good situation.”
And while having the 27th overall pick is a bit later in the first round than what the Celtics have grown accustomed to the past couple of years, there’s still a sense that they can find a solid contributor if they stand pat.
“We have to find players that can play and help us,” said Austin Ainge, Boston’s director of player personnel, who added that they are looking at a pool of about 10 players to choose from. “Having guys on rookie contracts, and lower contracts that can contribute, are invaluable. We have some high money guys on our team now. We’ve got free agents coming up this year, next year and year after and you never know how that’s going to go. So, we have to continually have new talent in the pipeline.”
Allen, who finished his career at Duke as the school’s 12th all-time leading scorer with 1,996 points, is well-versed on the questions that are sure to come about regarding the tripping incidents he was involved with at Duke.
And while he knows he has to do a better job of maintaining a better level of control while remaining intense, he says he’s not planning to change the way he plays.
“Every single team so far has looked at it as competitiveness,” Allen said. “Nobody has like scolded me for it or anything like that. I obviously have to talk about it and talk through it, and say that where it comes from and what I’m doing to improve my emotions on the court and stuff like that. At the end of the day, I’m not getting rid of that because teams want a competitive and emotional guy out there. You just have to control it. But they want a guy who brings fire.”
Allen added, “Right now, I think I’m in a place . . . I can handle a good situation, a bad situation, grinding through the G-League, anything. I can handle all that and have a long-term career.”