Few players in the NBA have grabbed their opportunity like Grayson Allen has with the Phoenix Suns this season. Despite playing alongside Devin Booker, Kevin Durant and Bradley Beal, Allen has started all 37 games he has played for the franchise to this point.
Season averages of 13.8 points, 4.2 rebounds and 2.9 assists are all career highs, while the 28-year-old leads the entire league in 3-point shooting percentage, at an insane 49.1 percent. To have achieved this on 5.7 attempts per game - just shy of his previous high of 5.9 - is incredible, and proves that Allen is the perfect role player for this Suns team.
As fantastic as Allen has been though, does he have any case at all to be an All-Star this season?
Right away this seems a stretch, especially as Booker has struggled in the fan voting and will likely need the coaches of the league to put him onto the team instead. Given that Booker is a superstar, the face of a franchise, has his own signature shoe and can score in ways Allen can only dream of, if he can't make it on first time, what hope does Allen have?
You would think very little, but the below graphic is an interesting case study in why Allen might just have an outside shot. His numbers are pedestrian in comparison to so many of the great players out West - but if Kyle Korver of the Atlanta Hawks once did this with even smaller averages - then why can't Allen make a run?
They key difference here - and really it is the only reason Korver made what would be his single All-Star appearance - is that the narrative surrounding the Hawks that year helped to make this a reality. They would go 60-22 to lead the Eastern Conference at a time when LeBron James had gone back to the Cleveland Cavaliers, and would have no less than a whopping four All-Stars.
All four of them (Korver, Paul Millsap, Al Horford and even Jeff Teague) would be selected by the coaches, which felt like a reward for the season the organization was having. Much was made at the time of this decision, but they were the best team in the East at that point, and so the argument to do this at least had some sort of foundation.
Fast forward to 2024, and although the Suns are in the midst of a resurgence now that they are essentially fully healthy, they have not run their conference like the Hawks did before them. They've risen all the way to fifth with a 25-18 record off the back of six straight wins, but it was less than a month ago they were hanging on to the final play-in spot.
There's no doubt however that Allen's shooting is as important to the Suns now as Korver's was back then, while Allen has also been the Suns' third best player so far this season. This is only because Beal has missed so much time through injury, but when his team have needed him, he has usually stepped up.
Never was this more evident than when the Suns came all the way back from 22 points down against the Sacramento Kings recently, with Allen having a team high 29 points on a ridiculous 9-of-14 shooting night from deep. Most of Allen's points came when none of his teammates, including Beal, had anything going earlier in the game.
One game alone is not enough to warrant All-Star selection, but what does deserve some attention is the fact that Allen is currently the only player in the entire league who is part of the 50/40/90 club this season. A wonderful achievement especially as Allen takes so many of his shots from deep, even if quite a few are uncontested thanks to the teammates he has around him.
Unfortunately though, for all of the great work Allen has done for the Suns this season, it should not warrant a first All-Star selection. Stranger things have happened, but really Allen will surely be happy if he instead gets paid this summer, instead of making the midseason exhibition.
He will be an unrestricted free agent, and it is highly likely the Suns won't be able to afford to keep him, even though they have his Bird Rights. That should tell you the kind of campaign and impact Allen has had for the franchise, and his great season looks set to continue now that the Suns are approaching full health.
The comparison to Korver is a fun one, and Allen is probably the better defender as well. But the league is deeper now than it was then - and if players like Booker are fighting for their spots - then Allen's chances are next to none. To have even had this conversation however, shows you just how far he has come for the Suns this season.