Throughout the playoffs this past season the Celtics had a luxury most teams could not afford. A player who could slow the opposing team’s superstar, no matter the situation.
Tony Allen was vital in the Celtics playoff run. He offered rest to Paul Pierce and Ray Allen, and slowed the likes LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Kobe Bryant, and on a lesser scale, Vince Carter.
Offensively, Allen was a player who could slash to the basket and on occasion finish with emphasis. While he is not nearly an offensive threat, he was a serviceable 4th or 5th option.
TA is a unique player in that he gives a team defensive versatility.
Think of him like Darelle Revis on the New York Jets.
The Jets have the capability to stick Revis 1-on-1 with any wide receiver in the NFL, knowing that Revis will succeed. This allows them to send blitzes to rush the quarterback or double cover other offensive threats.
Allen allowed the Celtics to do the same. In the Finals, he covered Kobe Bryant. While Bryant still put up points, Ray Allen and Tony Allen made him take many shots which were very much forced.
This lead to Kobe’s low overall shooting percentage of 40% from field goal range, and 31% from beyond the arc.
Against the Heat, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce were both inconsistent when guarding Wade, but when Tony played against Flash, he not only allowed Pierce and Ray to get into an offensive rhythm (instead of overworking themselves defensively), but also made life very difficult for Wade.
Wade ended up scoring a remarkable 56% from the field, but T. Allen received limited playing time.
Defensively, the C’s only needed to concern themselves with Wade, the Heat’s major offensive threat. They knew they could let Wade go for 30 and still win through team offense, which Tony sometimes struggled with.
However, when he did play, there was a noticeable drop in Wade’s energy level.
While not always statistically shown, Tony Allen can go 1-on-1 with the best players in the NBA and allow other players to play a team/help defense.
With the new big three in Miami, Tony could have guarded Wade or LeBron, while the Celtics could double team the other. Kevin Garnett, although aging, can still handle Chris Bosh with the help of Jermaine O’Neal and when healthy, Kendrick Perkins.
Without Tony, the Celtics will presumably double James, which will put Wade in 1-on-1 situations with Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo, and Marquis Daniels. All are capable defenders, but with each one the Celtics sacrifice in a significant fashion defensively.
With Tony Allen, they wouldn’t have to.
This Article is also featured on New England Sports Online
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!