Harry How

Grayson reflects on his rookie season: 'I wanted to know that I improved and got better'

by Aaron Falk

Grayson Allen smiled through the small indignities that come with being a rookie in the NBA. All season, he dutifully toted around a little pink backpack. He brought donuts. He slung large bags of popcorn over his shoulder and lugged them onto the plane for his veteran teammates, even though he suspected they wouldn’t eat any.

And along the way, he showed them all he could play.

Allen will look back fondly on his 40-point game in the Jazz’s regular-season finale as a high-water mark, and proof that he belongs at the game’s highest level.

“It’s for sure a confidence booster,” he said. “For me, 40 points is the highest I’ve scored in any game at any level. It’s kind of confirmation of improvement throughout the year and what I’ve tried to do. I wanted to know that I improved and got better. I have that to look back on now.”

For Allen, though, improvement on the other end of the floor remains the key to success.

“Defensively, I built a lot of habits—and a lot of good habits—this year,” Allen said. “It’s important this summer to keep those and keep getting better at them. Then when I come in next year with those habits, I can start to make plays. You don’t really see a lot of guys in their offseason workouts on Instagram doing defensive slides, but that’s definitely something I’ll be incorporating.”

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