By almost any objective measure, last season was a big step forward and a career year for Jarrett Allen, yet he still lost his starting spot to DeAndre Jordan and found his name in trade rumors.
Brooklyn’s young big man is determined to take his game to the next level, and he won’t have many better role models to learn from than Amar’e Stoudemire, recently hired as a Nets player development assistant.
Allen posted career-highs in scoring (11.1) and rebounding (9.6), and was even better in the bubble, helping carry the Nets to a surprising 5-3 record in the restart games and seventh-place finish in the East. He also formed one of the league’s top lob duos with Spencer Dinwiddie (40 dunks), something Stoudemire was masterful at while playing for years with new Nets head coach Steve Nash.
“Amar’e has been great so far,” Allen told The Post. “He’s been giving me tips when we’ve been working out, he’s been giving me little pointers on how to elevate my game. Showing me some post moves, just telling me about his mentality on rebounding, basically those things so far.”
Stoudemire was a pick-and-roll terror for years playing with Nash. If Allen (and Jordan and Kevin Durant) can develop even a reasonable facsimile of the chemistry that Stoudemire and Nash had while terrorizing the Western Conference, it would bode well for the Nets.
Allen won’t be the first young big Stoudemire helps. Apparently the six-time All-Star was coaching before he was even coaching.
Stoudemire starred for Phoenix from 2002-10 and the Knicks from 2010-15, then had short stints in Dallas and Miami before heading overseas. And while he was ending his playing career at Maccabi Tel Aviv, earning Israeli Basketball Premier League Finals MVP honors to help them win the title, he was also helping young forward Deni Avdija prepare for NBA life.
“Amar’e as a teammate was great, great man. Has a lot of patience with young guys. Really wants the young guys to improve,” Avdija said in a predraft Zoom interview with the media. “I had a great relationship with him. He’s a great friend of mine. I learned a lot from him this season.”
Avdija ended up a lottery pick with Washington — the highest selection ever from Israel — and credited Stoudemire with helping him get there.
“Me and Amar’e had a very good relationship,” Avdija said last week. “We were first to the gym almost every practice and we were talking a lot about the NBA and I asked a lot of questions: How is it to be an All-Star, to lead the team and what did you have to do.
“I asked him a lot of questions, and I don’t remember all of them; but he gave me a lot of knowledge and he has a lot of knowledge in him that helped me, and I’m just blessed having NBA players especially Amar’e who was an All-Star next to me and guiding me my last year at Maccabi. I mean, it was a great experience for me to play [with Stoudemire].”
Avdija can recall at least one specific question he just had to ask:
“How is to play with Steve Nash?”