Grayson Allen's draft stock hasn't taken much of a hit because of the tripping incidents. It has been affected more by his play on the court, multiple NBA executives told ESPN over the past two weeks.
ESPN contacted more than a dozen NBA staffers -- from general managers to scouts -- and the vast majority said they weren't overly bothered that Allen has seemingly unable to refrain from tripping opponents. Only one mentioned the emotional outburst on the bench after Allen's incident against Elon as bothersome.
"The tripping incidents don't bother me at all," one NBA general manager told ESPN. "It's the fact that he hasn't played well this year when he's been on the court."
"[The tripping is] irrelevant to me," added another GM. "To me, it's all about whether he is good enough to play in our league -- and I'm not so sure of that."
Allen was, according to most NBA executives, a likely first-round selection if he had left Duke after last season. Most told ESPN they had him in the 20th- to 30th-pick range on their draft boards, but some said they had him slipping to the early portion of the second round. The 6-foot-5 guard averaged 21.6 points and shot 47 percent from the field and 42 percent from 3-point range, but he decided to return for his junior campaign.
"I have a chance to play with this great group, have a chance to be a leader, work on my leadership," Allen told ESPN before the season. "With all this talent around me, I'll be able to work on my game, expanding -- work on playmaking, distributing, scoring the ball in different areas -- and doing all that while getting a chance to get a Duke degree is something I couldn't pass up."
Allen dealt with foot injuries early this season and also has seen his production decline because of the emergence of sophomore Luke Kennard. Allen is averaging 15.2 points and shooting 40 percent from the field and 33 percent from beyond the arc. He was suspended for one game in December after the Elon trip -- the third such incident in 10 months -- and appeared to shove a Florida State assistant coach earlier this week. Allen has spent most of his time at point guard since being reinstated and is averaging 12 points and 7.7 assists -- and fewer than seven shot attempts -- in the three games in his new role.
"I don't think the incidents hurt his draft stock," one NBA executive told ESPN. "You have to get to the bottom of the cause. I think what has hurt his draft stock is that for the majority of the year he hasn't played up to expectations, and I really feel for him if he is now having to play point guard. They tried that last year and it didn't go so well. It's definitely not something he is comfortable doing."
"I'm more concerned with how good he is," one high-ranking NBA executive told ESPN. "This draft is much better. He probably should have come out after last year."
With the addition of a strong freshman class that is point-guard-heavy, NBA personnel consider the 2017 NBA draft much deeper than last year's.
Another GM said he would not draft Allen in the first round this season.
"I'm just not a huge fan," he said. "And that has nothing to do with what's gone on with him and his issues with tripping."
"I never had him in the first round," another assistant general manager added.
While the majority of the NBA folks haven't changed their tune on Allen, they did say that his pre-draft interviews will be interesting and could help determine his draft position. Allen also could decide to return to Duke for his senior season.
"I want to talk to him," one NBA executive said. "I'm not buying the canned apologies, either."
Allen has plenty of work to do to sell NBA folks on him, but for most of them it has far more to do with his actual production on the court rather than the recent negative attention he has received.