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Lavoy Allen Is Bad at Cranium, and Other Reasons Why The Sixers Should Boot Him

Looking at more substantive reasons for why the Sixers should part ways with Lavoy Allen.

A pointless-in-hindsight teaching moment
A pointless-in-hindsight teaching moment
Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Lavoy Allen is a 6'9" Forward/Center with NBA playoff experience, or at least his bio would tell you that. Being the one Sixer big who could competently defend Kevin Garnett, he played a big role in nearly getting the Sixers to the Eastern Conference Finals less than one year ago.* While no one had prospects of Lavoy being a long-term NBA starter, considering his lack of size for a center or foot speed for a power forward, he had a solid rookie year which exceeded all expectations and showed that he was worthy of a rotation spot.

*If that's not an indication about how long this year has been, I don't know what else is - last year's playoff run ended on May 26, 2012. Unless you get shivers whenever walking near/through a bowling alley, at which point I'd suggest you visit a doctor or therapist and call a lawyer.

It made sense that the Sixers re-signed him to a deal last summer, considered him a valuable member of the roster, and installed him as a starter when you-know-who didn't appear. While the rookie contract he signed currently looks like a mistake for all the other contract ramifications it may have caused (although it very well may have just been a smart move by Lavoy's agent to take a one-year deal), his current deal looks like a decent one for a solid bench big. And it's not a terrible one for the Sixers either: he's guaranteed $3 million this year, and afterward he enters restricted free agency, so the Sixers can have him if they want.

But this season raised a lot of concerns about his future as a Sixer. A combination of inconsistent effort, consistent foul trouble, and anemic offense knocked him out of the starting lineup for good before the halfway point of the season hit, and over time he found his way out of Doug Collins's regular rotation. Granted, a lot of young players in Philadelphia have had their struggles over the past three seasons and ended up in the Doug House. But Lavoy seemed to deserve it - his effort, always known to be a question mark with him (though at most times an overstated issue) went into the tank the Sixers failed to jump into.

I would be okay with that if Lavoy made any improvements to his game or showed any dedication to getting better. But he hasn't. And he was straightforward with admitting that he hadn't learned anything from his second year in the NBA, though not having rookie duties must be nice for him.

As it goes with Lavoy, the lack of improvement maybe should have been expected. He provided roughly the same production throughout his four years at Temple. His strengths and weaknesses haven't changed either. His jumper is solid, if a bit lacking in range. His post defense remains his biggest asset, and he defends the pick-and-roll well too. He's a decent passer who can be passive with his shot selection, and he always turns over his right shoulder. He shies away from contact. These things about him haven't changed one bit since even his first college season.

In his second NBA season, teams caught onto his game, and he performed worse overall than he did in his first in a significantly higher number of minutes. His true shooting percentage, already below league-average at 48.8%, dropped to 47.4% (for reference, this was lower than Evan Turner's, but Evan at least had the excuse of largely having to create his own offense - Lavoy shot rarely, as a final option, and shot worse). He rebounded fewer misses than the previous year, made fewer plays for teammates, he just regressed slightly in just about every rate measure we use. Expecting more than this going forward is foolish based on his history - he failed to get significantly better at any level, content to remain a player who wouldn't capitalize fully on his athleticism and skill. Lavoy Allen will almost certainly be this player going forward, and that is how we should evaluate him. Solid enough for a fourth big, but nothing more than that.

In that vein, it makes the Toot or Boot decision simple. While his contract presents no issues to the roster going forward, and his impending restricted free agency is team-friendly, he provides very little for a rebuilding team looking for young assets who could reap rewards for the next time this team becomes competitive. Furthermore, teams looking for bench bigs could certainly do worse than Allen, at a cheap price and who would likely take little or nothing to obtain. He could also take away minutes from one of our draft picks - at 11, there looks to be many more bigs available than wings or point guards that the Sixers would be interested in. And since the Sixers still have another backup center anchoring their end-of-bench roster spot, there's no place for him to sit without being a nuisance.

In summary: Lavoy Allen has more use elsewhere than he does here.

I want to like Lavoy, I really do. We went to the same college. His social media game is on point. He had that one good playoff series. And he has an awesome name. But for all the reasons I've mentioned above, he just doesn't fit here anymore. And I've heard from a good source that he is bad at Cranium, which seals the deal for me. BOOT IT.

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