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Ray Allen's decision to join the Miami Heat made many people write off the next season as a mere formality with Miami destined to win the title at a canter.
That was before the Dwight Howard trade.
Nevertheless, Allen makes the Heat a truly complete team.
Miami got its three point shooting from the hot-and-cold, walking-wounded Mike Miller, inconsistent Shane Battier and spotty contributions from other players.
Allen, the NBA's all-time leader in made three-point field goals, alters the whole dynamic of this team.
With Allen on the floor, Miami has someone who can run off screens for catch-and-shoot plays from deep. They have someone who from that triple-threat position on the catch can then find the roll man (someone like Bosh?) and find them in space created by defenses trying to make Allen's rhythmic three-point shot misfire.
On top of that, Miami's small-ball lineup becomes more potent still. Both Wade and Allen have played significant minutes at point guard during their careers, and LeBron James is effectively becoming a point forward.
That gives the Heat three ball-handlers in a lineup of Wade-Allen-Battier-LeBron-Bosh. That's a lineup that presents a defensive nightmare. How do you prevent a LeBron drive when you have to respect the outside shots of all four other players on the floor?
Allen's health, however, will be a critical factor. He lost his starting gig in Boston through injury so whether he remains healthy enough for the Heat to truly get him into the fold is up in the air.