The first two games of the 2014 NBA Playoffs haven’t been very kind to Ray Allen. Allen has truly been in a slump all season long, and his struggles have continued through the beginning of the first round. In 41 combined minutes of play, Allen has gone 1-8 from the field, and an abysmal 0-3 from beyond the arc. As one of the premiere shooters in the NBA, these numbers are extremely troubling, especially for someone as decorated as Allen is in this league.
The Miami Heat might not realize this now, but Allen’s offense will eventually be needed to get through the playoffs. For example, a potential second round series against the Brooklyn Nets would require Allen to step up off the bench and produce considerably, especially considering how many talented offensive players the Nets have on their roster. A combined effort from LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh might not be enough to overcome a team like the Nets without help off the bench, and that is where Allen’s offensive output has to be the focal point.
During the 2012-2013 NBA Playoffs, Allen averaged 10.2 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 1.3 assists while shooting 40% from beyond the arc and 43% from the field. These numbers were a major contributing factor towards the Heat winning their second straight title. Want to take a guess as to what Allen is averaging this season? A flimsy 9.6 points, 2.0 assists and 2.8 rebounds while shooting 42% from the field and an even worse 37% from beyond the arc. The statistical decline might not seem too severe, but the slight dip in percentage is a sign that Allen is out of his rhythm as a shooter, and it has showed all season long.
Allen seems to be having an identity crisis as an elite shooter, and it is coming at arguably one of the worst times in his career. The Heat are going to have to rely on Allen’s scoring at some point, especially against playoff teams with depth. The Heat’s first round series against the Charlotte Bobcats has allowed Allen to seemingly disappear onto the bench, but his lack of production cannot go on for much longer, for the Heat’s chances at a third title could very well rest upon Allen’s shooting abilities. If you need proof of Allen’s impact, look no further than last year’s Game 6 of the NBA Finals.
Jared Doyle is a Miami Heat writer for RantSports.com.
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