NBA Free Agency 2012: Ray Allen Cements Miami Heat's Finals Return
The key to Miami’s NBA championship this year was their ability to hit the three in transition as well as off of penetration, and their capacity to convert at the free throw line.
Obviously LeBron James and Dwyane Wade are premiere scorers; however their game is centered around getting to the rim, and when defenses are able to collapse around them, teams are able to slow their offensive output—especially at key moments late in the game.
Nevertheless, both are nearly impossible to guard one-on-one and are very effective at getting their teammates involved, particularly as they draw defenders from the wings to help guard against penetration. While Shane Battier, Mario Chalmers, and at times even Chris Bosh, give LeBron and Wade decent passing options, having Ray Allen changes everything.
First and foremost, Allen will be a terror in the Heat’s half court offense. He is one of the best in the league at moving without the ball and using screens to get open, providing the team an option to use an entirely different offensive philosophy when necessary. With Allen, the Heat are no longer a slave to penetration and are free to use more of the court and more set plays when they absolutely must score.
Allen’s ability to get open without the ball—along with his insanely consistent jump shot—not only gives LeBron and Wade a terrific option on the wing to kick out to, but also grants the two superstars more room in the lane. Teams will inevitably be forced to extend their defense in order to more closely cover Allen behind the arc, which will ultimately slow their rotation and limit their effectiveness of reaching the ball before LeBron or Wade reaches the rim.
In addition, Allen is incredibly dangerous in transition, both from behind the arc as well as at the rim. The Heat already have one of the most potent transition games in basketball, Allen simply adds yet another threat and increases their aptitude to score quickly.
Quite simply, Allen takes this offense to new heights, and should make the team unstoppable with their already stingy defense.
Lastly, with the big three in Boston being dismantled and Dwight Howard likely leaving the Magic, there is a void atop the Eastern Conference. The Bulls still need some pieces to truly compete with a team like the Heat in a seven game series, and the Knicks have all the talent but cannot seem to play consistent basketball, especially during the postseason.
Ultimately, now that they have Ray Allen, there doesn’t seem to be any team that poses a serious threat to beat the Heat in the East.
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