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Boston Celtics' Ray Allen & Other Living Legends Still Bringing Value in 2011

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Boston Celtics' Ray Allen & Other Living Legends Still Bringing Value in 2011
Jim Rogash/Getty Images

Ray Allen’s record breaking three pointer to bypass Reggie Miller as the all-time leader in 3PT field goals casts the veteran shooting guard as one of the game’s greatest marksmen and at 35, he continues to fill up the nightly box score.

Allen’s shelf life has outlasted just about all of his counterparts taken beside him in the 1996 draft. In case you forgot, that draft included names like Allen Iverson, Stephon Marbury, Antoine Walker, Shareef Abdur-Rahim and Kerry Kittles—all players who have failed to measure up to Allen’s remarkable longevity.

The former UConn Husky netted his 2561th three pointer to bypass Pacers’ legend Reggie Miller last week against the L.A. Lakers, but while Miller’s production trailed off in his final seasons, Allen has continued to produce at an unprecedented level.

Throughout his career Allen has fit into a variety of roles whether as a young budding guard in Milwaukee playing alongside Glenn Robinson and Vin Baker, or as the lone focal point as a Seattle Supersonic posting gaudy scoring lines (26.4 PPG in 06’-07’).

Today Allen has assimilated into his role as just one of many consistent contributors for a team oriented perennial winner as a Boston Celtic but that unselfish role took a backseat last week, at least momentarily.  

“My whole career I’ve been such a team-oriented guy,” Allen said after breaking Miller’s record. “But now it’s somewhat a moment for me to stand up and say this is something that’s important in my career.”

Efficiency has been the modus operandi for Allen who has seen his shot attempts drop dramatically since joining Boston in the summer of 2007. The veteran guard sees just 12.7 shots per contest, a modest output compared to the 21 nightly attempts he was able to hoist as a Sonic.

In order for Allen to maintain his high level scoring and still distribute the ball to the rest of Boston’s star studded lineup, he has had to convert shots at an exceptionally high rate.

The 2010-2011 season has seen the Celtics marksman shoot a career high 46 percent from 3PT range while knocking down a staggering 50.5 percent of shots from the floor. Ray Allen isn’t the only National Basketball Association veteran who continues to climb the statistical ladder among the league elites. Heralded active stars like Vince Carter, Kobe Bryant and Dirk Nowitzki continue to write legendary scripts that are sure to adorn the plaques of Springfield some day.

Vince Carter’s relocation to the desert following a late December deal has been the jolt that the Phoenix Suns needed to push an aging group of stars towards a playoff seed.

The 2010-11 season has seen Carter pass the 20,000 point mark, a demarcation that usually signifies one as Hall of Fame criterion but Vince has proven to be an integral contributor to a talented Suns team.

At 34 years old, Carter still brings nightly value by converting nearly 40 percent of his 3PT attempts while chipping in an average of 15 PPG. It seems that the former slam dunk champion doesn’t have many productive seasons left, but Suns coach Alvin Gentry will continue to feed his veteran guard minutes for as long as Carter continues to contribute.

Had the NBA’s collegiate rule prohibiting players from entering the league directly from high school been imposed in the mid-90’s, perhaps Kobe Bryant would have played against Vince Carter at the NCAA level.

It’s believed that Bryant and Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski had mutual interest which would have brought the high school phenom to Durham, but instead Bryant made the jump directly to the pro ranks and began carving out a legendary career in Los Angeles at just 17 year old.

This season Kobe hasn’t lost a step following the Lakers championship run last spring. Bryant has seen a drop of five minutes of action per game this season which has dropped his scoring output to just over 25 PPG, while the Lakers star guard continues to shoot the ball just as effectively as ever (46.5 percent FG).

This season Kobe looks to pass Moses Malone for 6th on the NBA all-time scoring list at 27,409 career points and he has shown no signs of slowing down. Next on Bryant’s radar is Shaquille O’Neal, a moving target who currently sits at 28,590.

The 1998 draft saw eight teams pass on Nowitzki even after then Celtic’s coach Rick Pitino compared the German import to Larry Bird during a pre-draft workout.

Pitino promised the young German that he would be selected if he fell to Boston at the 10th pick but instead the Milwaukee Bucks selected Dirk before promptly sending him to Dallas in a deal involving Michigan Wolverine Robert “Tractor” Traylor and Notre Dame sharp shooter Pat Garrity.

Fast forward to 2011 and Nowitzki is preparing to suit up for his 10th All Star game and leads his Mavericks team who are again in pursuit of a return trip to the NBA finals. Currently, the Deutschland native sits at 22,108 career points, 24th all-time and on the heels of Clyde Drexler for 23rd.

Similar to Bryant, Dirk hasn’t let up as one of the NBA’s best. This season Nowitzki has shot the ball at a career best rate (52 percent) and his efforts have catapulted his Mavericks into the current three seed in the West.

Vince Carter may not make his way to Los Angles for the All-Star game this February but he’s likely to join Ray Allen, Kobe Bryant and Dirk Nowitzki for eternity in Springfield. In the meantime, expect these icons to continue to build on what has already been legendary careers… careers that make this a group of living legends.

Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

 

Written By Conor Gereg exclusively for http://www.thefantasyfix.com

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