The Indiana Pacers have quietly stayed within striking distance of a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference despite a myriad of reasons why they should instead be in contention for a high lottery pick. Even more forgotten is one of their key reserves, Lavoy Allen, who has been an efficient player in their frontcourt while David West missed the start of the season.
Allen has had some big games to spark the Pacers this year and is posting career highs in minutes, points and rebounds per game. His 6.9 points and 7.4 rebounds over 21 minutes translate to a very impressive 11.9 points and 12.7 rebounds when averaged over 36 minutes. He also boasts a 19.6 total rebounding percentage which is currently higher than guys like Tim Duncan (more on him later), Dwight Howard and Nikola Vucevic.
The former Temple standout took a few minutes after Indiana’s recent west coast trip to talk about his season and a variety of other topics. The usually quiet Allen does indeed have a lot to say and is armed with a witty sense of humor that may catch you by surprise.
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Dime: The Pacers have had some bad luck and frustrating things happen to them dating all the way back to last season’s All-Star break. What made you re-sign with them over the summer as opposed to going elsewhere?
Lavoy Allen: I just enjoyed the team (last season), the front office and the coaches. I have a really good relationship with them and they said they really liked me, so I decided to sign back.
Dime: Were you close to going anywhere else? If so, where?
Allen: I was actually thinking about going to Washington. It was another good offer I had besides Indiana and it really only came down to deciding between those two teams.
Dime: You have free agency coming up this summer, I know we are long way from that now but are you looking forward to this process? Do you think you will sign another one-year deal to capitalize on the new TV agreement in 2016 or will you be look for stability in your next deal with another team or even with Indiana?
Allen: Ah man, I am not even sure right now. I’m just trying to focus on the season really and get back on the court to help my team. When that time comes that’s when I will really focus on that.
Dime: Speaking of this season, it hasn’t been as bad as many would have expected it to be. Can you identify how the team has kept their spirits up and competitive level high so far?
Allen: We have a lot of talent on our team. Now we have David West back and Roy Hibbert back, but to start the season people were counting us out because we didn’t have Paul George or Lance Stephenson. George Hill was hurt and D. West was out so a lot of people were counting us out because they didn’t recognize the names playing on this team. But we have a lot of talent on this team from the top guy to the 15th guy. As long as we continue to play hard, particularly on defense, we’ll be in every game — it’s just a matter of finishing.
Dime: Can you talk about the coaching influence of Frank Vogel and the front office in terms of their mindset and influence towards this team coming into the season?
Allen: Well Vogel is a player’s coach. He motivates us to continue to play hard no matter what happens during a game, no matter how much we are down. There have been a couple games (this season) where we were down 15 — maybe 20 points and we came back and won or at least came close. As long as our defense is there every night, we can be in every game. Our coaches have a lot of trust in us, so no matter how were performing we know we have to continue to play hard.