This is the 5th in a series of profiles for all 16 players on the current Celtics roster. We'll profile at least one player each day leading up to the season opener.
Tony Allen defends Kobe Bryant during the 2008 NBA FInals. (Jim Davis/Globe Staff)
Born: Jan. 11, 1982
Height: 6 feet 4 inches ... Weight: 213
College: Oklahoma State
Years pro: 4
Acquired: Drafted No.25 by Boston in 2004
2008/2009 salary: $2.5 million
Signed through: 2009-2010
Last year's numbers: 6.6 ppg, 1.5 apg, 2.2 rpg in 18 minutes
Strengths: Allen is an athletic two-guard who can flat out defend. With James Posey gone to New Orleans, Allen is one of the only players on the team who can go against the Kobe Bryants and LeBron Jameses of the world. But Allen can also score the ball a little, as evidenced by his 32-point outburst Thursday in a preseason game against the Nets. TA also had two 20-point games during the regular season last year.
Weaknesses:Consistency. The scoring outburts have been infrequent with Allen. Part of that is related to the freak knee injury he suffered in Jan. of 2007. Because of, or possibly in addition to the health factor is Allen's mental condition. His play seems directly correlated to his confidence, which is on display in the locker room before every game. It's really almost as simple as, "You know TA is going to have a good game if he's belting out jams with his headphones on just before tip off." Or maybe it just seems that way.
What to expect: Allen's performance could be the single biggest factor in Boston's success this season. Think about that. If TA can replace the intensity and production of Posey, the Celtics won't miss a beat. If his knee, or his head, keep him grounded, the Celtics don't have many options at that big guard/small forward position. I'm going to go out on a limb and that that Allen WILL be that guy this year. And if he is, the Celtics will have found their sixth man.
Check back tomorrow for another player profile, and give us your expectations for Allen in our comments section.