The way Ray Allen’s season is going makes me feel like I just penned this article last week instead of last year. But back then, few people cared — not even me — after he sank that corner three to basically hand the Miami Heat the NBA Championship.
The shot erased all criticism until father time started to prove why he’s undefeated.
It’s a theory that all of the greats come to realize as their age begins to climb the ladder — Michael Jordan, Shaquille O’Neal and now Kobe Bryant. And that stage does not discriminate by strictly focusing on big-men and high flyers. Just ask Larry Bird about his back or Reggie Miller about his legs during Tayshaun Prince’s rundown.
But everyone thought that Allen outran his age because he came into this season in what looked like the best shape of his life. He kept his routine the same when it comes to getting up a ton of shots hours before the game, and he even threw down multiple dunks for the first time in years (check out the facial on Golden State Warriors’ Kent Bazemore).
Maybe that’s why he had to miss a few games with a sore knee. And maybe that sore knee is the reason why he’s shooting a January percentage of .120 from the three-point line and .178 from inside of it — including a 2-for-14 day in Brooklyn. Or maybe it’s simply being out of his comfort-zone like the South Florida Sun-Sentinel’s Ira Winderman suggested:
“Not only would [Dwyane] Wade, Mario Chalmers and Shane Battier help with their contributions by being back, but it will help the likes of Allen, [Michael] Beasley and perhaps even Rashard Lewis by getting back to roles that had been more comfortable.”
Either way the Heat do not have a Mike Miller to turn to which leaves James Jones as the fill-in. However, if his offense is not automatic, he becomes the same liability as Allen — a non-scorer who opposing coaches will attack as soon as he steps on the floor.
So what can fans do? Pray that Pat Riley can turn Toney Douglas and that $2.2 million trade exception into a tough nosed shooter, a la Caron Butler.