Anthony Allen (born January 11, 1982) is an American professional basketball player for the New Orleans Pelicans of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He is a six-time NBA All-Defensive Team member, including three times on the first team. He won an NBA championship with the Boston Celtics in 2008.
Junior college (2000–2002)
Allen attended Crane High School in Chicago and played alongside fellow future NBA player Will Bynum. As a college freshman in 2000–01, Allen averaged 16.5 points, 6.1 rebounds and 2.8 steals in 32 games (31 starts) for Butler County Community College. He was subsequently named Second Team All-Jayhawk West Conference and Jayhawk West Freshman of the Year.
As a sophomore the following year, Allen averaged 14.5 points and 5.3 rebounds in 38 games for Wabash Valley College. He led Wabash Valley to a 32–6 record and a fourth-place finish at the NJCAA Championships. He was subsequently named Second Team All-Region XXIV.
Oklahoma State (2002–2004)
For his junior season, Allen transferred to Oklahoma State University, where he averaged 14.4 points and 5.4 rebounds in 32 games (28 starts) in 2002–03. He subsequently earned Big 12 Newcomer of the Year honors.
As a senior in 2003–04, Allen led Oklahoma State in scoring (16.0 points) and guided the Cowboys to the 2004 NCAA Final Four; he recorded 13 points, four rebounds and four assists in Oklahoma State's Final Four loss to Georgia Tech on April 3, 2004. He was subsequently named Big 12 Player of the Year and earned Honorable Mention All-America by The Associated Press. By the end of the 2003–04 season, Allen had become the first player in Cowboys history to surpass the 1,000 career point threshold in just two seasons.
Boston Celtics (2004–2010)
Allen was drafted by the Boston Celtics in the first round (25th overall) of the 2004 NBA draft on June 24, 2004, and signed a multi-year contract with the Celtics on July 3, 2004. As a rookie in 2004–05, he averaged 6.4 points, 2.9 rebounds and 0.99 steals in 16.4 minutes in 77 games (34 starts). He scored 20 points in his first career start on January 22, 2005 against the Atlanta Hawks. He later participated in the Rookie Challenge at the 2005 NBA All-Star Weekend, scoring a team-high 17 points. Allen went on to average 7.2 points, 2.2 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.00 steals in 19.2 minutes in 51 games (nine starts) in his second season with the Celtics.
Allen started his third season in Boston averaging career highs in scoring (11.5 points), rebounding (3.8) and assists (1.7) in 24.4 minutes in 33 games (18 starts) before suffering a season-ending tear of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and medial collateral ligament (MCL) of his left knee on January 10, 2007 against the Indiana Pacers. Allen hurt the knee when he landed awkwardly after an uncontested dunk attempt, that came after the whistle, in the final minutes of a 97–84 loss to Indiana. A month earlier, on December 15, 2006, Allen scored a career-high 30 points against the Denver Nuggets.
Allen recovered in time for the start of the 2007–08 season, and during the campaign, he averaged 6.6 points, 2.2 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 18.3 minutes in 75 games (11 starts). He contributed to the Celtics' successful playoff run that led to an NBA Finals berth, where they defeated the Los Angeles Lakers in six games to claim the 2008 NBA Championship.
In July 2008, Allen re-signed with the Celtics after agreeing to a two-year guaranteed deal paying $2.5 million each year. Allen went on to average 7.8 points, 2.3 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.17 steals in 19.3 minutes in 46 games (two starts) in his fifth season with the Celtics.
Allen played a key defensive role for the Eastern Conference Champion Celtics during the 2009–10 season, averaging 6.1 points, 2.7 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.07 steals in 16.5 minutes in 77 games (eight starts). He recorded his first career double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds on December 27, 2009 against the Los Angeles Clippers. During the 2010 playoffs, Allen played in all 24 games and averaged 5.1 points and 1.04 steals in 16.3 minutes. The Celtics reached the 2010 NBA Finals, where they were defeated 4–3 by the Lakers.
Memphis Grizzlies (2010–2017)
On July 13, 2010, Allen signed a three-year contract with the Memphis Grizzlies, reportedly worth $9.7 million. Two weeks after signing with the Grizzlies, Allen revealed he felt 'overshadowed' in Boston by teammates Paul Pierce and Ray Allen.
Allen emerged as one of the league's top perimeter defenders in his first season in Memphis, averaging 1.79 steals and helping the Grizzlies pace the NBA in steals and forced turnovers. He was subsequently named to the 2010–11 NBA All-Defensive Second Team, marking his first and the Grizzlies' first selection to an All-Defensive Team, and finished fourth in the voting for Defensive Player of the Year. He averaged 4.14 steals per 48 minutes, the highest rate by an NBA player since Nate McMillan in 1993–94. Allen averaged 8.9 points, 2.7 rebounds and 1.4 assists on .510 shooting in 20.8 minutes in 72 games (31 starts). He went on to help the Grizzlies advance to the Western Conference Semifinals for the first time in franchise history.
In the lockout-shortened 2011–12 season, Allen averaged 9.8 points, 4.0 rebounds and 1.4 assists on .469 shooting in 26.3 minutes in 58 games (57 starts). He recorded a franchise record and set a career high with eight steals on April 23, 2012 against the Cleveland Cavaliers. He was subsequently named to the 2011–12 NBA All-Defensive First Team after placing fifth in the NBA in steals per game (career-high 1.79) and third in steals per 48 minutes (3.27). He also finished sixth in the voting for the 2011–12 NBA Defensive Player of the Year, the highest for any guard. In January 2012, he was voted the best perimeter defender in the NBA by the league's general managers.
In 2012–13, Allen led all players receiving votes for the NBA All-Defensive teams, marking his second-straight First Team All-Defense honor and third consecutive NBA All-Defense selection. He finished fifth in the balloting for 2012–13 Defensive Player of the Year after averaging a career-high 4.6 rebounds and 1.51 steals in 26.7 minutes in a career-high 79 games (all starts). During the 2013 playoffs, Allen averaged playoff career highs across the board with 10.3 points, 6.1 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 2.00 steals in 28.1 minutes in 15 postseason games, helping Memphis advance to the Western Conference Finals for the first time in franchise history.
On July 15, 2013, Allen re-signed with the Grizzlies on a four-year contract worth $20 million. Allen concluded his fourth season in Memphis and 10th in the NBA with averages of 9.0 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.64 steals on .494 shooting in 23.2 minutes in 55 games (28 starts). He missed 27 games due to injury, illness or league suspension.
The Grizzlies entered the playoffs as the seventh seed and faced the Oklahoma City Thunder. Allen recorded 10 offensive rebounds in Game 4 against the Thunder, becoming the sixth reserve to record 10+ offensive rebounds in a postseason game since the 1986 Playoffs, joining centers John Salley, Roy Tarpley, Jayson Williams, Greg Ostertag and Jeff Foster. He finished Game 4 with 14 points and 13 rebounds, becoming the second Grizzlies reserve to register a double‐double in a playoff game, joining Lorenzen Wright (10 points, 10 rebounds on April 29, 2006). The Grizzlies were ultimately eliminated by the Thunder in seven games.
In 2014–15, Allen continued to be a defensive stalwart while guarding the opposing team's best offensive talent. He made his third NBA All-Defensive First Team (and fourth career All-Defense accolade) after ranking fourth in the league in steals (2.0 pg) while playing 26.2 minutes per game. Allen was the only player in 2014–15 to record at least three games with six-or-more steals.
In May 2016, Allen was named to the NBA All-Defensive Second Team for the 2015–16 season, marking the fifth career All-Defensive selection for Allen in six seasons with the Grizzlies. Allen averaged 8.4 points, 4.6 rebounds, 1.1 assists and 1.72 steals in 25.3 minutes in 64 games (57 starts) for Memphis in 2015–16. He was tied for the NBA lead with Minnesota's Ricky Rubio in steals per 48 minutes (3.3) among players with a minimum of 1,500 total minutes played. The Grizzlies' defensive rating was 2.2 points better with Allen on the floor (104.1) than with him off the floor (106.3). In addition, Allen led the team with 1.7 steals per game.
On June 26, 2017, Allen was named to the NBA All-Defensive Second Team for the 2016–17 season, marking the sixth career All-Defensive selection for Allen, having now been recognized on the NBA All-Defensive Teams six times in his seven seasons with the Grizzlies. Allen appeared in 71 games (66 starts) for Memphis in 2016–17, averaging 9.1 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.4 assists and a team-leading 1.62 steals in 27.0 minutes per game. He led the league in steal percentage (3.1), his second time to lead the league in the category (4.1 in 2014–15).
On October 12, 2017, the Grizzlies announced they will retire Allen's No. 9 jersey when he retires.
New Orleans Pelicans (2017–present)
On September 15, 2017, Allen signed with the New Orleans Pelicans. On November 1, 2017, he had a season-high 10 points in 19 minutes off the bench in a 104–98 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves.
NBA career statistics
|GP||Games played||GS||Games started||MPG||Minutes per game|
|FG%||Field goal percentage||3P%||3-point field goal percentage||FT%||Free throw percentage|
|RPG||Rebounds per game||APG||Assists per game||SPG||Steals per game|
|BPG||Blocks per game||PPG||Points per game||Bold||Career high|
|†||Denotes season in which Allen won an NBA Championship|
Standing at 6 feet 4 inches tall (1.93 m) and weighing 213 pounds (97 kg), Allen plays both the shooting guard and small forward positions. Allen is known as an elite, all-purpose defender and is often assigned to defend high-scoring swingman, making it uncomfortable for players to score against him. Allen has been named in the NBA All-Defensive Team six out of seven times from 2011 to 2017.
On February 26, 2016, in a game against the Los Angeles Lakers, Kobe Bryant presented Allen with an autographed pair of shoes that read "To Tony, the best defender I ever faced!". Both players were inactive for the game.
Allen is the son of Ella Allen. He has two sisters, Ebony and Dominique, and a brother, Ryan, who played on the Grizzlies' 2012 summer league squad following a four-year collegiate career at Wisconsin-Milwaukee.