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Stanford Basketball Player Profile: Malcolm Allen

Turnovers, turnovers, turnovers.

NCAA Basketball: Southern California at Stanford John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports
Malcolm Allen, Stanford Basketball
Stanford junior Malcolm Allen
Stanford Athletics
Season Games Played Minutes Played FG-FGA FG% 3FG-3FGA 3FG% FT% eFG% Rebounds per game Assists per game Steals per game Points per game PER (Player Efficiency Rating)
2013-14 16 74 5-9 55.6 0-1 0 60 55.6 0.2 0.5 0.5 0.8 6.7
2015-16 28 358 28-61 45.9 6-18 33.3 42.9 50.8 0.8 3.7 1.3 2.4 6.0
Career 44 432 33-70 47.1 6-19 31.6 47.4 51.4 0.6 0.8 0.3 1.8 6.2

As a sophomore, Malcolm Allen was featured last season primarily as the backup point guard to Christian Sanders. The 6-foot-1 guard from Las Vegas, Nevada found difficulty settling into his role.

Malcolm Allen did get opportunities to expand his responsibilities and earn more minutes on the floor. He played in 7 games last season in which he played more than 20 minutes.

In the 7 games where he played more than 20 minutes, Allen actually shot the ball worse than when he played less than half of the game. So, why was he awarded more time in those games?

Allen took care of the basketball by not turning the ball over.

As a bonus, he forced more turnovers.

Malcolm was able to have a 2.5 assist-to-turnover ratio in the 7 games where he received major minutes. He also generated 6 steals. In the 21 games Allen played less than 20 minutes, he had 19 assists, 27 turnovers and 6 steals.

His added court time was all about generating empty possessions for opponents while protecting Stanford’s possessions.

Too frequently, Malcolm Allen did the opposite. He had turnovers and failed to adequately defend on the ball.

So, while he shot a little better better in limited minutes, the trade off of less ball security ultimately made the play of Christian Sanders more necessary. And seriously, don’t sleep on how costly Malcolm Allen’s turnovers were to Stanford.

Allen’s turnover rate last season was 32.1%. Meaning that nearly 1 in 3 times Malcolm Allen was involved in a play, it resulted in a turnover. That’s so nightmarish Wes Craven must feel lucky he didn’t have to witness it.

As a point guard, Malcolm Allen frequently is tasked to defend the ball handler. This doesn’t play to his strengths as a defender. He is much better at chasing his man and denying and contesting the catch and shoot. Opponents only shot 33% when defended by Allen in catch and shoot situations. A product of the fact that Allen was able to successfully shed screens; which enabled him to contest 72.2% of catch and shoot attempts taken by his man. That’s good.

However, Malcolm Allen plays point guard. A huge part of his defensive responsibility is to guard the ball handler. In fact, he defends on the ball 67.3% of the time. When Allen defended on the ball last year, it was pretty bad. When defending an isolation, the ball handler on a pick and roll, or was posted up, it ended up resulting in 34 points on 36 of the described possessions. That’s 0.94 points per possession defended. Or nearly a made 2-point basket every other time a team attacked Malcolm Allen with their ball handler.

One may wonder, could Stanford make a defensive switch to have Malcolm Allen defend primarily off-the-ball? It is worth looking at. The numbers indicated that maybe his brother, Marcus, could defend on the ball with greater success. But, with Malcolm being 6-foot-1, there is a potential vulnerability against bigger shooting guards. Would that height disadvantage result in a worse outcome than 0.94 points per possession defended when on the ball? Probably not. Maybe this is a way that Jerod Haase will choose to tinker with Malcolm Allen when he is in the lineup.

Malcolm Allen may have really improved his game in the offseason. Barring that, it is hard to see the junior guard having a greater role at Stanford if he continues to be a marginal-at-best shooter, prone to turnovers, and a defensive liability. Especially with a whole host of walk-on point guards entering the squad, a serviceable veteran in Christian Sanders, and a promising and now healthy Robert Cartwright making the competition for minutes at the 1 pretty steep.