Why Ray Allen Will Thrive as Sixth Man for Miami Heat

Kelly ScalettaFeatured ColumnistOctober 3, 2012

MIAMI, FL - SEPTEMBER 28:  Ray Allen #34 of the Miami Heat poses during media day at the American Airlines Arena on September 28, 2012 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Chris Trotman/Getty Images

Kevin Garnett may not be happy about it, but Ray Allen is going to thrive as the sixth man for the Miami Heat, and he could be in the running for the Sixth Man of the Year. 

Last year, the Miami Heat were not very good from deep. They had just 370 makes, which was only 20th in the league. However, their percentage was better, as they sank 35.9 percent of them.

That's why they brought in Ray Allen—to solve that problem and break up zone defense.

We can surmise that Allen will be highly successful with the Heat by looking at Mario Chalmers, who made the most three-point shots for the NBA champs, knocking down 101 of them at a .388 clip. 

This is fortuitous for Allen, because he'll likely get the same kinds of looks that Chalmers did, which is to say, wide-open looks. 

I started to go through and count off how many of Chalmers' three-point shots came off of double-teams on Dwyane Wade and/or LeBron James, and after the first 14 were all a direct result of that, the point was made and it didn't seem worth continuing to count them. 

It may be that Chalmers generates some of his own threes, but clearly the primary catalyst is that James and Wade command defensive attention. 

Here's a series of screen caps to illustrate. 

First, James gets the ball. Note that four out of the five Celtics are either guarding him or within a step of him.

In the next cap, Mickael Pietrus gets a hand on the ball and James goes backwards. Look now at the space between Chalmers and anyone wearing a Celtics uniform. 

Surprise, surprise. James, with his great vision, finds Chalmers, who in turn knocks down the deep ball with the greatest of ease because it's a completely unguarded shot. 

If that doesn't convince you, this should. According to basketball-reference.com, of the 101 three-point shots that Chalmers made, 46 were assisted by James, and another 21 were assisted by Dwyane Wade. That's more than two-thirds of his three-point shots. 

Still not convinced? How about this? According to NBA.com's Advanced Stats, Chalmers shot 42 percent from deep while LeBron was on the court compared to 11 percent when he was off it. That is not a misprint or a typo. That's a difference of 31 percent. 

When Allen is in the game with Wade and James, it's likely that one of them will be the primary ball-handler and Allen will play off the two of them, patrolling the opposite three-point line. And if the combination can make Mario Chalmers look like Ray Allen, what are they going to make Allen look like?

Ray Allen, who is only the league's all-time leader in three-pointers made, at 6,788 and counting, and had his career high in three-point percentage last year, knocking down 45.3 percent of his tries, could have an even more ridiculous season this year. 

Allen will be fresher since he'll be coming off the bench and playing fewer minutes. Fresher legs, by pure logic, mean a better shooting rate.

He'll have more open looks like Mario Chalmers had this year. When you combine those two facts, it's inevitable. Allen is gong to drain a ton of threes this year and thrive in his role as sixth man for the Miami heat.  Sorry, Kevin.