How Would Ray Allen Fit In on the Miami Heat?
LeBron James' ability to draw three defenders every time he drives makes Miami an attractive destination, even for spectacularly average three-point shooters. For the best three-point shooter of all-time, it would be basketball utopia.
Any aging veteran who has "chased a title" by joining forces with LeBron has been scrutinized in the past couple years. And while Allen is one of the league's most likable guys, his excoriation would be far more severe for two reasons: (1) He would, reportedly, be taking a major pay cut to play for Miami, and (2) He would be jilting the Celtics for their main Eastern Conference rival.
In Boston, they would call him "Benedict Allen." Or maybe "Judas Shuttlesworth."
But strictly from an on-court perspective, Ray Allen would be an ideal fit in Miami, where his peers would be able to ensure that his last few seasons were some of his best.
Why, you ask?
LeBron is ridiculed at times (okay, all the time) for his proclivity to pass the ball instead of making bull-headed drives to the rim. And while the latter proved nearly-impossible to guard this summer, the truth is LeBron has more Magic in his game than Michael.
Blessed with mythical court vision, and ideal height for a point-forward (and make no mistake about it, that's his position), LeBron can survey the entire court at any time.
This, combined with his aforementioned willingness to pass, makes him the perfect compliment to a stone-cold three-point threat like Allen.
If you don't believe me, you needn't look any further than Mike Miller's Game 5 performance, or Shane Battier's entire Finals hot-streak. Yes, those are both accomplished long-range shooters (though neither is in Ray Allen's class), but they were also taking almost exclusively open shots.
Put Ray Allen in one corner while LeBron draws a triple team, and he could lead the league in three-pointers made next season.
The demise of Ray Allen was greatly exaggerated this postseason, but the complete breakdown of his body was for real.
The Celtics overused their 36-year-old shooting guard in 2011-12, playing him 34 minutes a game despite the condensed schedule. So while he looked painfully geriatric during Boston's unlikely playoff run, he is by no means done.
If he wants to succeed in the moribund portion of his career, however, he needs to play for a team that will monitor his minutes less myopically.
Miami, unlike Boston, frequently blows teams out during the regular season, allowing their starters to rest (or go through the motions) in crunch time during most of their games. This rest should allow Allen to back-load his productivity (much like Shane Battier in 2012) and be spry during the Heat's playoff run.
On top of that, between LeBron, Wade, Battier and (potentially) Mike Miller, the Heat actually have more quality depth on the wings than the Celtics. This would make extended minutes from Allen even less pivotal.
The Clutch Gene
An NBA Finals triumph has quieted most of the vitriol directed at the Heat's late-game offense (as well as it should), but their problems down the stretch are still very real. When your go-to play looks like this, something needs to change.
But Allen is, and always has been, a late-game assassin from beyond the arc. Even during his well-documented slump in the 2012 playoffs, he rose to the occasion in the fourth quarter.
Most of Allen's clutch shots have come when he was the team's most feared option––with the opponent doing everything they could to keep the ball away from him.
Imagine how much easier it would be to knock those down as the team's fourth option?
As a former Sonics fan, I have a special place in my heart for Ray Allen, who guided Seattle to one of its finest seasons in 2004-05. And as a present-day Thunder fan, I have a very different place in my heart for the Miami Heat, who punched me in the gut this summer and left me wheezing in the fetal position.
But as much as it pains me, the unbiased, objective part of me has to admit that Ray Allen and the Heat would make a perfect marriage. My retinas would burn watching it, but it would be a symbiotic relationship that could propel both entities to another championship in 2013.
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