NBA free agency has officially started. Teams are now able to present propositions to the many players available, but cannot sign them until July 11th.
The Miami Heat, despite winning the NBA championship over the Oklahoma City Thunder, are looking to improve an already stellar roster this offseason. One particular scenario that has ignited debate is the possibility of shooting guard Ray Allen coming to South Beach.
While he would be a positive addition to the rotation, Allen would not slide in as easily as another player the Heat are interested in.
Jason Terry, also known for his shooting, has not only been rumored to being pursued by Miami, but has publicly stated he would be interested in joining the team as well. Heat President Pat Riley and the rest of team management would be wise to select the Jet over Allen, for the following reasons.
After winning the ultimate prize in the NBA this past season, the Miami Heat look to have discovered their best rotation. It involves shifting Chris Bosh to center, inserting LeBron James at power forward, and surrounding them with Dwyane Wade and two shooters. The combination of Mario Chalmers and Shane Battier was the most effective, as both players are solid defensively.
However, it is unlikely the Heat will continue to employ this as a starting lineup next season. Wade, James and Bosh will return to their original positions, with Chalmers at point guard and a center of head coach Erik Spoelstra’s choice.
If Allen or Terry joins Miami, neither will be featured in the starting rotation. They would have to come off the bench in a sixth man role, to undoubtedly provide rest for Wade in the backcourt.
Allen openly admitted to disliking a bench role last season, as guard Avery Bradley replaced him in the starting line-p while the shooter returned to form after injury.
Despite this, he did so for the good of the team. While this may have been a short-term solution until Allen was at full strength, it is doubtful he would accept such a role for a full season. Terry is accustomed to such a role, having started just 34 games the past four seasons. He was also the winner of the Sixth Man of the Year award back in 2009.
Terry is better suited to the Heat’s rotation for this reason, and would slide in without a problem. This is a known fact, and would benefit both parties rather than the "will Allen accept a role" scenario, which leaves answers up in the air.
One of Miami’s sales pitches will indisputably be the amount of open shots either player will receive. Wade and James are renowned for their ability to drive inside and create open shots on the perimeter for their teammates.
Both Allen and Terry are two of the greatest three-point shooters the NBA has ever encountered. However, Terry wins this outlook.
Allen is one of the best at off-ball movement and making shots off screens. While this would certainly add a new dimension to the Heat’s offense, it would not work as seamlessly as having Terry in the offense. Both players could essentially play the same way within the Miami game plan.
Terry possesses superior ball-handling skills to Allen, and would thereby not only be a threat from beyond the arc, but adds the possibility of creating his own shot or for teammates once the defense closes out on his attempts.
This is not to say Allen cannot handle the ball, but his game is slightly more one-dimensional than Terry’s. Miami likes to play small, with James at power forward.
A lineup of Terry, Wade, Battier, James and Bosh would most likely close out games, and looks stronger than one consisting of swapping Wade to point guard, a position he has openly disliked playing in long stretches.
The prospect of adding an outstanding shooter like Allen to the roster is an initiative many teams would salivate at. The mismatches this team could create with him are infinite. Nonetheless, Terry is a better fit for the current Heat roster.
While both play shooting guard, Terry can effortlessly slide to point guard to accommodate Dwyane Wade in the rotation. The same cannot be said for Allen. He could slide to small forward, but it is difficult to picture him sliding to the 1-guard.
In addition, Miami already has Wade, Battier, James and Mike Miller (when he returns from injury) on the roster. An interchange of those four plus Allen would create a disparity of minutes, a situation the Heat need to stay away from.
The team worked out their play style and what works best just at the right time in the playoffs, earning them the Larry O’Brien trophy.
As the famous phrase states: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Miami has just Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole at point guard, and a three-guard rotation by adding Terry is more manageable for the team than trying to juggle who will or won’t play per game with Allen.
At 12:01 a.m. on the morning of July 11, both players will receive a number of offers from teams across the NBA. Due to their age, Allen and Terry will consider those from championship contenders before any others.
An offer from the Miami Heat will be a definite development, but Jason Terry should be the priority. He would fit into the offense flawlessly, provide clutch shooting and accurate three-point offense, as well as being the sixth man Miami has searched for since day one of forming the Big Three.
Allen would also be a nice addition to the team, but would not be as applicable to the Heat’s identity as the Jet. It will be intriguing to see how this scenario plays itself out in coming days.