Rarely does a team that won a championship get to reload in the off season with one of the all time greatest players in their sport.
The Miami Heat became part of that rare group when they were able to sign Ray Allen, the all time greatest three-point shooter in NBA history. The question is now what the potent, yet aging shooter who is coming off a foot injury will bring to the table as Miami prepares to defend their title. Here is what to expect from the man nicknamed ‘Jesus Shuttlesworth:’
Last Season: In 2011-12 the Boston Celtics’ ‘Big 3’ of Allen, Kevin Garnett, and Paul Pierce began to show their age. At one one point the idea that Boston would miss the playoffs was a valid one. Allen found himself as part of rumor mills surrounding the Celtics in their efforts to get better. At one point he was almost sent to the Memphis Grizzlies in exchange for O.J. Mayo and a draft pick. Adding to the stress for Allen, bone chips in his ankles slowed him down enough in the eyes of head coach Doc Rivers to warrant benching him and starting rookie Avery Bradley.
Allen finished the 2011-12 season averaging 14.2 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 2.4 assists. This was statistically his worst season except when it came to points as he averaged 13.4 points per game in his rookie year.
This Season: When Allen chose to sign with Miami instead of returning to Boston this off season the expectations for were very clear. He is another long range sniper that the Heat have in their arsenal to compliment the playing style of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh. The main advantages that Allen has over his fellow three-point shooters like Mike Miller and James Jones is his status as the best of all time and his superb conditioning.
Allen will almost certainly become the primary backup for Wade. His conditioning, even at the age of 37, is high enough for Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra to easily start him should Wade suffer a setback in his rehabilitation from knee surgery.
Even as a bench player, due to how James plays and the formula that Miami used to win the NBA championship, Allen will likely see a much better point average this season due to his shooting style.
Overall Prediction: Allen is one of the greatest shooters in NBA history. Expect that to truly shine with the Heat as he will not be expected to do as much as when he was in Boston. This may also be a main drawback he may face. A break in routine could affect a man who is regarded by some in the league as to have obsessive-compulsive disorder.
It shouldn’t affect Allen as much when all he has to do to scare opposing teams is be open from beyong the arc.