What do silk, a baby's bottom, and a man's face after a Gillete Mach Five shave have in common?
None of them are as smooth as Ray Allen.
Seriously, have you ever seen another man play so effortlessly? Everything Ray does on a court is so fluid, never wasting any motion.
His release is clean, quick, and pure. His drives to the hoop, an underrated aspect of his game, are also effortless.
He seemingly glides by his defender and, if he can't get all the way to the rim, stops and pops for his picture-perfect floater.
He is the definition of poise, confidence, and level-headedness on and off the court (on that note, on a little bit of a tangent, but have you ever seen anybody else pump his fist in a controlled manner? Ray is the only guy I've ever seen who can celebrate yet keep every bit of his poise).
Watching Ray is like listening to a good symphony. If you've ever been dragged to a symphony that you didn't want to go to, you know exactly what I'm talking about. You didn't want to go at all because you don't like classical music and there was a good game on TV, but your mother or wife makes you go anyways.
Without fail, you'll end up, if not liking the symphony, at least appreciating its beauty. You'll probably complain afterwards and never admit to actually appreciating it, but you certainly did.
Well, that's just what it's like with Ray. You could take the biggest band geek, someone who doesn't even know who LeBron James is, never mind ever watched SportsCenter or a basketball game in their lives, and he would still appreciate the aesthetic beauty with which he plays. Nobody in the world could possibly see that jumpshot and not be awed by the perfection of it.
Aside from being such a smooth player, Ray has been incredibly productive for the Celts. Last year, he struggled to adapt to playing with two superstars and being third fiddle for the first time in his life. This year though, while his ppg barely improved (from 17.4 to 18.2), Ray was far more efficient.
He narrowly missed joining the exclusive 50-40-90 club (50 percent field goals, 40 percent three-point field goals, and 90 percent foul shots), registering a still highly efficient 48-41-95. Ray was our most consistent player this season, and it wasn't even close.
He gave us the same great effort day in and day out this entire season, which is why it was so hard to see him struggle mightily against the Magic. Doc blamed Ray's struggles on injuries, and I have to say that I wasn't surprised at all when I heard that Ray had hamstring problems through the whole series.
He had been so consistently good for us this whole year, including a magnificent first-round series against the Bulls (honestly, how many big shots can one man win in a single series?), that it just didn't make sense that he all of a sudden went cold for seven games. Ray was being guarded by J.J. Redick, for God's sake. A healthy Ray could score on J.J. nine out of 10 times down the court.
Ray improved so much this year that it was hard for me to choose which of the Big Three was least significant to the team. Last year, it would have been an easy choice to name Ray the least significant player of the Three and I would have automatically written his player capsule before the other guys.
This year, I had trouble choosing Ray out of the pack. He did such a great job this year, it could very easily be argued that he was the team's MVP.
Besides what he does on the court, Ray is, by all accounts, a mentor for all the young guys. Rajon Rondo, especially, has benefited from playing with Ray and seeing firsthand the dedication and motivation it takes to become a perennial NBA All Star. Ray may not be the Celtics' best player, but he has been a wonderful addition and makes it even easier to love this team.
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