The Miami Heat have two of the most prolific ball-handlers in the NBA in LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. Both have an uncanny ability to get to the rim, which forces opponents to either let them score or put them on the foul line. The only way to defend Miami's Big Three is to play a consolidated scheme where the rim is crowded and help can get there quickly.
By using this strategy, James and Wade score less points around the basket, and the pressure is put on the Heat's role players to score points from the outside. As we saw throughout the playoffs this past season, Miami is nearly impossible to beat when the likes of Mike Miller and Mario Chalmers are knocking down long-range jumpers. However, that's a risk teams are normally willing to take when playing the Heat.
With the addition of Ray Allen, opposing defenses are going to have to completely revamp their strategy. Allen shot over forty-five percent from three-point range a year ago. Despite his age, he has proven to be lethal from beyond the arc. If team's pack in their defense to stop James and Wade at the rim, Ray Allen will beat them with three pointers on a nightly basis.
Check out the video above. LeBron James drives to the basket against four Indiana Pacers standing in the paint. He makes an incredible pass to Dwyane Wade through a profoundly tight space for an easy layup. However, next season, Ray Allen will be posted up on the perimeter for the drive-and-dish.
If team's insist upon stacking four players in the paint to defend James and Wade, they will likely leave the best three-point shooter in league history open for several long-range jumpers each game. If they decide to pay Allen significant attention on the outside, the floor opens up for the Big Three to operate around the basket.
Ray Allen does not need the ball in his hands to be effective. Just the threat of Allen on the court will force defenses to extend out, which will create space and increase the efficiency with which the Heat run their offense.