Central Notes: Allen, Bryant, Pistons Offseason, Bucks

Cavaliers center Jarrett Allen‘s injury status in the postseason was a source of controversy, as he was ruled questionable with a rib contusion for eight straight games but didn’t appear in any of them. A report following the Cavs’ elimination indicated that some people in the organization were frustrated Allen didn’t push harder to suit up. As Cleveland.com’s Chris Fedor writes, Marcus Morris essentially confirmed as much during a recent appearance on FanDuel’s Run it Back show (Twitter video link).

You don’t have an option to rehab but you have an option to play,” Morris said. “I can’t speak on how bad it was for Jarrett. If you put me in that same position, do I play? Yes. I can’t say how his body felt. Orlando was a very physical series, so I wasn’t surprised he didn’t come back in that one. He got hit one more time and it could have been different. A little bit surprised about the Boston one. I think Boston is not as physical, more just talented and skillful guys.

However, the exact definition of Allen’s injury was unclear until Friday, when general manager Koby Altman told reporters that Allen suffered a “pierced” rib. The injury has been described as a bruise or contusion until that point.

NBA insider Marc Stein wrote in a recent Substack post that fellow insider Chris Haynes reported Allen’s reluctance to take a pain-killing injection for his rib stemmed from an incident in the NFL. In 2020, then-Chargers quarterback Tyrod Taylor suffered a punctured lung after receiving such an injection.

We have more from the Central Division:

  • Knicks associate head coach Johnnie Bryant is one of the coaches the Cavaliers will consider for their now-vacant head coaching position, according to SNY’s Ian Begley. Bryant has been in his role the past four seasons, lining up with the most successful New York seasons in recent history. Bryant joins James Borrego and Kenny Atkinson as reported candidates. The Knicks would have to give Cleveland permission to interview Bryant.
  • After joining the Pistons, new head of basketball operations Trajan Langdon has some major decisions to make soon about how much of Detroit’s rebuild can be salvaged, says Omari Sankofa II of the Detroit Free Press (subscription required). Langdon first must decide on general manager Troy Weaver and head coach Monty Williams, the latter of whom Sankofa reports ownership is willing to move off of despite the $67.5MM guaranteed he has remaining on his contract. After that, it’s a matter of sorting through young players on the roster. As Sankofa writes, historically bad teams don’t often keep much of the roster that failed to produce, usually holding on to one or two players over time. Time is ticking to put a competitive team on the floor, Sankofa writes, and Langdon might be best suited to gut the roster.
  • In order to improve on their worst season ever, the Pistons will need to improve across the board. James L. Edwards III of The Athletic highlights four archetypes of players Detroit needs to hone on in the offseason, including three-and-D players, perimeter defenders, rim protectors and high-IQ pieces.
  • The Bucks have largely maintained an elite defense over the course of their contention years, but that changed this season as they plummeted to the middle of the pack in that category, Eric Nehm of The Athletic writes. They improved during the change from Adrian Griffin to Doc Rivers, but in order to get back to contention, they’ll need to continue to be better. To start, Brook Lopez will need to maintain his elite rim protection, though he is getting older (36). Outside of that, Nehm writes they’ll need better guard defense and should look to improve in transition.
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