Ray Allen Breaks All-Time Three Point Record: Ranking Him Among Celtics Shooters
Ray Allen Breaks All-Time Three Point Record: Ranking Him Among Celtic Shooters.
Ray Allen has surpassed Reggie Miller for the all time lead in three point field goals made in NBA history. Miller had held the record for more than 13 years after passing Dale Ellis for the all time lead during the 1997-1998 NBA season.
As fate would have it, Reggie Miller himself was on hand to witness the spectacle. He was in town to provide color commentary for the Celtics vs. Lakers matchup on TNT. Apparently, the basketball gods have a sense of humor.
Now, it's Ray's turn to hold onto the record for a lengthy period of time, perhaps even longer than Miller. The next active player on the all time list is Jason Kidd (age 37), whose 1700 plus three point makes rank third all time. The highest active player under the age of 30 is Joe Johnson (age 29), who currently has 1130 career makes. There really aren't any players currently in the NBA with much more than an outside chance of surpassing Allen.
Now, the question is where does Allen fit among the ranks of Celtics sharpshooters? He's currently amidst his fourth season with the team, and he already has one championship to his name. While Allen might have done the most cumulative damage as a Buck and a Supersonic, it's his time in Boston and participation on one of the greatest teams in NBA history that he'll be remembered for most.
Be sure to check out rayallen20.com, the newly-launched, official site of Ray Allen.
Dan is a Boston Celtics featured columnist. Follow him on Twitter @danhartelBR.
Reggie Lewis, 1987-1993 - During his time on the basketball court, Lewis was a great player. Never proficient from long distance, Lewis was the prototypical slashing off-guard/quick-forward that the NBA revolves around today. In just six seasons with the Celtics, Lewis shot .488 percent from the floor and .824 from the free throw line. He averaged 20.8 points per game in each of his last two seasons with the C's. Taken from us much too young at age 27, we'll unfortunately never know exactly how good Lewis would have been. His number 35 hangs from the rafters of the Garden.
Antoine Walker, 1996-2002; 2004 - Say what you want about the A-Train, but he was a pretty good player as a member of the Celtics. His 20.63 PPG is fourth all time in Celtics history. He's 13th all time in points (11,386), and second in three point makes (937) and attempts (2,815). He could shoot from distance and was underrated on the post.
Jo Jo White, 1969-1978 - A nine time All-Star and a two time NBA champion, White is one of the most underrated players in Celtics history. The point guard of the Tom Heinsohn coached teams of the 70s, White accumulated 13,188 career points as a Celtic, 10th most in organizational history.
David Wesley, 1994-1996 - Wesley played three seasons with the Boston Celtics, shooting .399 percent (fourth among those with 100 more attempts). He owns the fourth highest single season three point record in Celtics history (.429 percent).
Chris Ford, 1978-1981 - Ford was with the Celtics when the three point line came into use in the NBA (1979-80). He gets this mention because of what he did during that season, namely shooting 70-164 (.427 percent) from beyond the arc. His 70 three point makes were the third highest in the NBA that season, and his .427 rate was second best in the NBA.
10) Eddie House, 2007-2009
If the NBA learned one thing during Eddie House's two and a half year tenure with the Boston Celtics, it was this:
"Don't leave the house."
While House's overall game might be fairly lackluster, he did one thing exceptionally well. Shoot.
His quick release and knack for big shots made him arguably the best three point bench specialist in the NBA during his run with the C's.
House's knock-down shooting ability quickly made him a fan favorite in Boston, and he remains immensely popular today despite the fact that he is no longer with the team.
House was a key member of the 2007-08 championship team. He shot .393 percent from beyond the arc and averaged 1.5 makes per game, despite playing in just 19.0 minutes per game.
The following season, House set a Celtics single season record for three point field goal percentage (.444). He is also the Celtics all-time leader in three point field goal percentage (.412).
Few role players even get the chance to make the impact that House did in a Celtics uniform. His name, for Celtics fans, will always be synonymous with pure shooting ability.
9) Dana Barros, 1995-1999
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A Boston native and a Boston College alumni, Barros spent five productive years with the Celtics from 1995-1999.
While he never was a prolific scorer with the C's (averaged a high of 13.0 PPG with the team in '95), he was one of the better three point specialists in the league. In all five seasons with the Green, he shot at least 40% from three.
His career .407 three point percentage with Boston is second all-time in Celtics history. His .868 free throw percentage is fourth all time in Celtics history.
Barros was never as productive in a Celtics uniform as he was during his brief two year stint with the Sixers (1993-95), but he helped mentor young players like Paul Pierce and Antoine Walker. While he doesn't have the bulk total of some Celtics legends, his spot as a dead-eye three-point shooter is firmly entrenched in Celtics history.
8) Danny Ainge, 1981-1988
The three point line was first implemented in the NBA during the 1979-1980 season. Danny Ainge was drafted by the Boston Celtics out of BYU the following year.
Ainge was one of the game's original sharpshooters as the modern NBA fan uses the term today. Ainge's .443 single season (1986-87) percent from three is the second highest in Celtics history, and was held for over 20 years until Eddie House bested him by .001 percent in 2008-09.
Ainge's .386 career three point percentage as a member of the Celtics is seventh all time in Boston history, and fifth among players with at least 100 attempts.
Ainge has been part of three championships with the Celtics, including two as a player (1983-84, 1985-86).
7) Tom Heinsohn, 1956-1964
A vital part of the Celtics dynasty of the late '50s and early '60s, Heinsohn remains to this day one of the most versatile scorers and shooters to play the game.
Heinsohn is often overlooked in the annals of history, as he shared the floor with legends such as Bill Russell and Bob Cousy. But, his role was just as important. Red Auerbach had this to say about their relationship:
"Russell had [the role of] get me the ball, start the fast break, play the defense, Cousy was the playmaker, Heinsohn the shooter."
While a solid conventional shooter, Heinsohn was most known for his hook shot. A self-described "bail out shooter," Heinsohn could shoot the hook with either hand, often times as far as 15 feet away from the basket.
Heinsohn led the Celtics in scoring in three seasons (1959-61), and made the All-Star team six times (1957, 1961-65). He was the rookie of the year in 1956, and a four time member of the All-NBA second team (1961-64).
His career average of 18.65 points per game is sixth best in Celtics history.
An eight time NBA champion, Heinsohn captured titles in eight of his nine seasons as a player. That's a pretty darn good success rate.
After retirement, Heinsohn went on to win another two championships as the head coach of the Celtics. He's spent the rest of his career as a color commentator for Celtics games. All in all, he's been directly involved in 14 of the 17 NBA titles that the Celtics have captured.
Heinsohn was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1986. His number 15 is retired by the Celtics.
6) Bill Sharman, 1951-1960
Bill Sharman was one of the original sharpshooters in NBA history. He helped to define offensive efficiency as fans see it today.
Sharman was one of the first true guards to bring his field goal percentage over 40%. Only a few contemporaries, like Paul Arizin, accomplished this feat. Sharman was considered arguably the purest shooter of the 1950's.
A Celtic for all but 31 of his 711 career games, Sharman was part of the backcourt along with Bob Cousy that helped revolutionize the game of basketball. Sharman won four rings as a member of the Celtics (1956, 1958-60) before his retirement following the 1960-61 seasons.
Sharman scored 12,287 points in Boston (11th in Celtics history). His .883 free throw percentage ranks third in Celtics history.
He was named by the NBA as one of the 50 greatest players in NBA history. He was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1976, and his number 21 was retired by the Celtics in 1966.
5) Sam Jones, 1957-1968
Sam Jones made his legacy as part of the Celtics teams from the '50's and 60's. His 10 rings as a player rank second in NBA history only to Bill Russell.
Jones was called "Mr. Clutch" by many of his contemporaries, as he had a knack for coming up successful in big situations.
He utilized his speed and was particularly adept at the bank shot. He averaged over 18.0 points per game for seven consecutive seasons (1961-67), and he led the Celtics in scoring during four different seasons.
Jones racked up 15,411 career points (seventh in Celtics history). He averaged 17.7 points per game while shooting .456 percent from the field and .803 percent from the free throw line. In an era where field goal percentages were often supplanted by fast break offense, Jones remained one of the better shooting players in the NBA, generally finishing in the top 10-20 in field goal percentage.
Jones was one of the games original shooting guards. His stature and skillset were carbon copies of what NBA fans consider to be a two-guard today.
Jones was named one of the NBA's 50 greatest players in 1996. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1984, and his number 24 was retired by the Celtics in 1969.
4) John Havlicek, 1962-1977
Havlicek stole the ball...but he could shoot it too.
Hondo is remembered as one of the most versatile players in the history of the NBA. He began his career as a sixth man, one of the many talented bench players in the illustrious history of the Boston Celtics.
Havlicek routinely outworked his defender, and is known as one of the quickest and most energetic players to grace the hardwood. His tireless effort on the floor made him an irreplaceable cog in the legendary Celtic fastbreak offense under Tom Heinsohn.
During his 16 year career (1962-78), all with the Celtics, Havlicek lead the Celtics in scoring ten times (1963-64, 1966-75). He became one of the greatest offensive weapons of his era; he could shoot from anywhere on the floor while moving in all different directions.
Hondo's 26,395 career points rank first all time in Boston Celtics history and 12th all time in NBA history.
Havlicek won an incredible eight titles as a Celtic (1963-66, 1968-69, 1974, 1976). He was the 1974 Finals MVP, a four-time all-NBA first teamer (1971-74), a seven-time all-NBA second teamer (1964, 1966, 1968-70, 1975-76), a five time all-Defensive first teamer (1972-76), a three time all-Defensive second teamer (1969-71), and an all-star for thirteen consecutive seasons (1966-78).
Havlicek was named one of the 50 greatest NBA players of all time in 1996, and was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1984.
3) Ray Allen, 2007-Present
Ray Allen is one of the purest shooters to ever play basketball, plain and simple. He's the definition of a sniper. Obviously, he's one of the most prolific shooters from long distance in history. However, he's very underrated when it comes to shooting off the dribble, especially closer to the basket while in traffic. He has the smoothest eight foot leaner in the game today and can hit a variety of different shots with the same degree of success.
Ray has been able to maintain a career of nearly unprecedented sustainability through his hardwork and legendary pregame routine. Allen is almost always the first player to the gym, arriving as much as four hours before tip off to get his pregame shooting drills in. Physically, he's in the same shape that he was in as a rookie for the Milwaukee Bucks in 1996.
At the age of 35, Ray is currently on pace for career highs in field goal percentage and three point percentage. Throughout his career, Ray has put the time in, and he's seeing the results pay dividends now.
In just three and a half seasons in Boston, Allen has already entrenched himself in the Celtics record books. He's currently fourth all time in Boston history in three point makes and attempts, behind Larry Bird in both instances. He should move into third all time in makes sometime this season, and he should move into third in attempts sometime next season.
Ray is fourth all time in career three point field goal percentage in Celtics history (currently .402), and first all time in free throw percentage (.914). He's currently on pace to set a Celtics single season record and career high for three point percentage (.458), and a career high in field goal percentage (.508).
But Ray's legacy as a Celtic will undoubtedly come from his championship during the 2007-08 season and his reputation as one of the biggest clutch shooters in history. Ray Allen has hit countless game winning, go ahead, and late fourth quarter daggers en route to a Celtics W.
Ray has posted some of the most memorable playoff performances in Celtics history. Whether it was his epic series against the Chicago Bulls during the 2008-09 season, or his eight three pointers against the Lakers in game two of the 2010 NBA Finals, Allen has been the definition of a playoff performer.
One can certainly make the case that Ray Allen is the best sharpshooter to ever play the game. It's a testament to his ability that he ranks so high on this list in just three and a half seasons of play.
2) Paul Pierce, 1998-Present
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Tommy Heinsohn has literally played with, coached, or commentated on virtually every noteworthy Celtic in history. Simply put, there is no other man on the planet who knows the history of the Celtics better than him.
Also, he recently labeled Paul Pierce as the greatest offensive player in Celtics history. His reasoning? Paul Pierce has all the shots; his game is so complete.
Tommy's logic makes sense. Pierce can beat you in so many ways. He can shoot the three, the mid-range/step back, shoot on the post or on an isolation. He can shoot over you or blow past you with his deadly-quick first step. He can shoot off the dribble and off the catch, in traffic and on an island. He can even dunk it in your face every now and then. Simply put, there isn't a shot that Paul Pierce doesn't have in his arsenal.
Pierce became just the third member of the 20,000 point club in Celtics history this season, behind only Larry Bird (21,791) and John Havlicek (26,395). He could surpass Larry Bird as soon as next year, and depending on how long the 33 year old Pierce wants to play, he could end up as the leading scorer in Celtics history when he decides to hang up the kicks.
Pierce's career average of 22.3 points per game is second in Celtics history only to Larry Bird. He's made (1,538) and attempted (4,144) the most three-pointers in Celtics history. No other player is even remotely close to him in either category.
He's maintained a .447 field goal percentage, a .371 three point percentage, and a .803 free throw percentage throughout the course of his career.
Pierce has only gotten better (and smarter) with age. An eight time all-star (2002-06, 2008-10), Pierce captured his first championship and finals MVP during the 2007-08 season at the age of 30.
He's currently having one of his best seasons as a Celtic, shooting a career high from the field, and flirting with career highs in three point percentage and free throw percentage.
People often forget, but Pierce was once considered a top 5-10 player in the NBA in the earlier part of his career. At this point, it seems likely that Pierce will end his career with an induction into basketball's Hall of Fame. His number 34 is a lock for retirement.
1) Larry Bird, 1979-1991
This one was easy.
Perhaps the greatest Celtic not named Bill Russell, Larry Bird remains to this day one of the deadliest shooters and greatest athletes to ever pick up a basketball. He is arguably the purest shooter in the history of the NBA.
During his thirteen year career with the Celtics, Bird gained the reputation as one of the games most clutch performers. There simply wasn't a shot that "Larry Legend" couldn't put it. It didn't matter the situation, where he was on the floor, or how many defenders tried to get in his way, Larry Bird could be counted on for a big shot.
Throughout his career, Bird maintained a .496 field goal percentage, .376 three point percentage, and a .886 free throw percentage.
During the 1986-87 and 1987-88 seasons, Bird maintained the unfathomable 50/40/90 shooting percentage benchmark, which only seven other players have accomplished. Bird was the first player in NBA history to accomplish the feat, and one of only two players (Steve Nash) to accomplish it more than once.
Bird also led the NBA in three point makes twice (1985-1987), and free throw percentage four times (1983-84, 1985-87, 1989-90).
He averaged 24.3 points per game during his career, and he is second all time in Celtic history in points scored (21,791), third in three point field goals made (649...although Ray Allen is right on his tail) and third in free throw percentage (.886).
Bird finished his career as a three time champion (1981, 1984, 1986), a three time MVP (1984-86), a two time Finals MVP (1984, 1986), a nine time all-NBA first teamer (1980-88), a one time all-NBA second teamer (1990), a three time NBA all-defensive second teamer (1982-84), a twelve time NBA all-star (1980-88, 1990-92), a three time three point shootout winner (1986-88), and an Olympic gold medalist (1992).
His number 33 was retired by the Boston Celtics, and he was chosen as one of the 50 greatest players in NBA history by the NBA in 1996. He was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1998.