Ray Allen: Evaluating His Season and Looking Forward to Next Season
Well, the opposite is true for Ray Allen. While Rondo's game has been on an upward swing through the past five years, Ray's has been on a slow, downward spiral.
We can't necessarily blame Ray for this. It makes sense that Rondo, who is hitting his prime, would improve. At the same time, it makes sense than an aging Ray Allen would worsen over the years.
This season was by far his worst as a Celtic. Between his 36-year-old body and the painful bone spurs in his ankle, Ray struggled through the second half of the season.
The playoffs were a struggle as well for Ray, but he was a warrior and fought through the pain. Despite the fact he didn't shoot well and his scoring was down all throughout the playoffs, what he did during the Eastern Conference Finals was nothing short of admirable.
Instead of sitting out because of the pain, he fought through it by going to the arena 10 hours early to warm-up.
Although he still couldn't manage to make a huge impact, his efforts were valiant nonetheless. In a sentence, Ray's season can be defined like this: he gave the Celtics all he had given his age and injuries but, unfortunately, it was not enough
What he must improve on for next year
For Ray, he may have already played his last game in Celtic green. And his last game in the NBA.
If this is not the case and he does return to basketball next season, all he needs to do is get healthy.
What is your grade for Ray Allen?
Albeit easier said than done, this is the only thing Ray can do at this stage in his career. His shooting is still a work of art.
However, while he was hurt during the end of the season and the playoffs, even his shooting was off as he was unable to get the same lift on his jump shots.
His bone spurs also affected his defensive abilities.
A healthy Ray Allen next season will be a deadly shooter that any team would love to have.
Expectations for next year
Nothing is certain for Ray at this point. He could retire, sign with any team he wants or return to the Celtics. At this point, I would say that each of these options are equally likely.
Retirement could be a good option for Ray, given his age and injury. Then again, he's a player who relies on shooting rather than youth and explosiveness. He definitely could have a good year or two in him.
If he takes this viewpoint, then the question becomes of where he will play his basketball next season.
I would like to think that loyalty will sway Ray's decision and he will return to Boston for a good price. But, the Celtics should only take him back if he does accept a significant pay cut.
If he doesn't take a pay cut to return to Boston, another team will be willing to pay the price to bring in the sharpshooter.
Some team will be content overpaying Ray. For that reason, it seems that, in all likelihood, Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals was Ray's last as a Celtic.
At this point, I hope he doesn't go to the Heat or the Lakers, even if those do seem like the best spots for him. I respect Ray Allen as a player and a person, and I don't want to have to vehemently root against him.
See Rajon Rondo's season grade, what he needs to improve on, and his expectations for next season here: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1228592-rajon-rond-evaluating-his-season-and-looking-forward-to-next-season.
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