Texas center Jarrett Allen declares for NBA draft

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Who will be the first center chosen in the 2017 NBA draft?

The three favorites have firmly entered the race.

Gonzaga’s Zach Collins and Creighton’s Justin Patton already declared, and now Texas’ Jarrett Allen follows.

Texas release:

University of Texas freshman forward Jarrett Allen has decided to hire an agent and remain in the 2017 NBA Draft, the school announced Tuesday.

As strong as this draft is, center is the weakest position. Allen will likely go in the middle of the first round.

Allen has an impressive physical profile: 6-foot-11 with a 7-foot-5.5 wingspan and solid mobility. He finishes well at the rim and can even step a bit away and still convert shots.

But Allen’s length covers for a lack of physicality. He blocks shots and snatches rebounds without too much banging. That won’t fly in the NBA.

Though he has hops, it takes him a while to get off the ground. While he’s still loading up to jump, pro players will score by him on one end or get positioned to defend him on the other.

These are far from fatal flaws, but if even his strengths won’t cleanly translate, Allen — whose held back by an unrefined offensive game — is a fairly big project. Team should draft him accordingly.