If nothing else, Draymond Green’s bold claim as the best defensive player in NBA history was bound to get some attention.
To little surprise from anyone who knows him, former six-time All-Defensive team member (3x First Team nods) Tony Allen had something to say yesterday after Draymond’s statement:
BIG 🧢!!! Who stamped you? Who you clamp!?
— Tony Allen (@aa000G9) March 23, 2021
Asked about his comments on Chris Vernon’s podcast for The Ringer, Tony Allen doubled down on his clapback to Green.
"𝐈 𝐀𝐌 𝐃𝐄𝐅𝐄𝐍𝐒𝐄" – @aa000G9
Tony Allen let the world know today on the @chrisvernonshow.
— Grind City Media (@grindcitymedia) March 24, 2021
It should be noted that Tony Allen, while perhaps not as versatile as Draymond Green, was a player who devoted all of his energy to the defensive side of basketball.
As unimpressive as Green’s counting stats are, Allen’s are even less so, with career averages of 8.1 PPG, 3.5 RPG, and 1.3 APG on 28% shooting from the arc.
For his career, however, Allen staked his reputation purely as a disruptor. After his first rookie-scale contract with the Big Three-era Boston Celtics, Allen left for the Memphis Grizzlies, where he flourished into a defensive lynchpin on what would become known as the “Grit & Grind” Grizzlies. The team was slow, pounded the air out of the ball, and was often compared to the 2004 Pistons for their willingness to play a highly physical and grounded game of basketball.
During his first season with Memphis, Allen became the first Grizzly to ever make the All-Defensive Team, and helped Memphis to its first-ever Western Conference Semi-Finals appearance. Despite Draymond Green’s hate, Allen was a good defender.
Allen had a nose for the ball over the course of his career. His most eye-popping stat is his average steals per game, with a career number of 1.4. This peaked in the 2014 season, where Allen nearly averaged 2 per game.
After retiring from the league, Tony Allen eventually came back to Memphis, and as of early 2020 is serving as a player development coach for the Memphis Hustle, the Grizzlies’ G-League affiliate.