Miami Heat: 10 Ways Ray Allen Could Hurt the Defending Champions
The Miami Heat have been one of the most active teams this offseason, signing Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis to multi-year deals, hoping that those players can solidify their bench for the years to come.
While adding Allen and Lewis makes sense in theory, both players could end up hurting the Heat more than they help them during the 2012-13 season.
Allen is 37 years old, and while he's the most deadly three-point shooter in the NBA, he doesn't bring much else to the court. If Allen isn't utilized appropriately in the Heat's offense, he could be a the foundation of a challenging year for the Heat next season.
Ahead are 10 ways Allen could hurt the Miami Heat during the 2012-13 season.
Taking Offensive Opportunities Away from LeBron and Wade
The Heat are playing their best basketball when LeBron and Wade are running the show.
The more shots those players take, the more effective of a team the Heat are. Allen needs to understand that and know that he's not going to be a major focus of the Heat's offense. Instead, he's going to be a compliment of the All-Star players on the Heat's roster.
If Allen wants to help the Heat, he must realize that his role is to help create opportunities for LeBron and Wade. His role isn't to come in and put up the kind of production he did in Boston. Instead, he should expect to live on the perimeter and make life easier for LeBron and Wade by stretching the defense.
If Allen doesn't realize that, it could be a tough year in South Beach.
Throwing a Wrench in Heat's Solidified Rotation
By the end of the 2011-12 season, the Heat had found an eight-man rotation that not only worked for them, it also led them to the 2012 NBA title.
Allen is going to throw a wrench in that rotation, and it will certainly take time for the Heat to find a new rotation that works best with the increased level of talent they now have on their roster.
While I'm sure the Heat welcome the challenge of working with better talent than they had last season, it's still not going to be an easy task to find a rotation that compliments the star talent on the Heat's roster.
Not only do the Heat have to find a place for Allen, they also have to find a place for Rashard Lewis, and that's going to be a challenge.
Increasing the Intensity in the Rivalry with Boston Celtics
This might seem like a stretch, but the last thing the Heat needed was a reason for the Boston Celtics to hate them even more than they currently do.
Signing Ray Allen did just that, and it's only going to increase the tension between the two teams in what is becoming one of the most highly contested rivalries in the NBA.
With Kevin Garnett returning and the Celtics reloading with Jason Terry, Jeff Green and a few young rookies, the Celtics could be one of the biggest obstacles standing in the way of the Heat repeating as NBA champions.
It's not truly Allen's fault, but the fact that his signing with Miami has increased the intensity of the Heat/Celtics rivalry is certainly something that could end up hurting the Heat this upcoming season
Forcing Heat to Focus on Age Instead of Youth
Allen didn't force the Heat to sign him, but deciding to take less money to play in Miami led the Heat into a situation where they are now focusing on veteran talent instead of young talent to build for the future.
For the next year or two, having Allen coming off the bench is something that the Heat could certainly benefit from, but for the long-term future of the Heat, Allen could end up holding them back.
The Heat will need to start finding young talent soon to start building around because in a few years they won't be able to rely solely on the superstar talent they have on their roster.
Signing Allen didn't help the Heat move in that direction, and that could hurt the Heat over the next few seasons.
Taking Minutes Away from Other Bench Players
One of the major reasons why the Heat hoisted the 2012 Larry O'Brien Championship Ttrophy was because of the efficiency and production that their role players and bench rotation provided.
That will certainly be the same next year, but now, with Allen on the bench, the Heat's second unit rotation will look quite a bit different, and that could hurt the Heat early on next season.
Signing Allen was an upgrade for the Heat, but that will only be the case if they can figure out how to incorporate him into the offense in a way compliments the talent on the roster instead of blatantly replacing it.
It will be interesting to see which current bench player Allen takes the most court time from. If the Heat's bench rotation isn't handled effectively, especially with the addition of Rashard Lewis, it could hurt the Heat next season more than it helps.
Continuing to Build League Hatred for "Superstar Team" Model
Allen certainly isn't on the level of the Heat's vaunted Big Three, but he's still a star player, and just that in and of itself is bad for the Heat.
The other 29 teams in the NBA don't like the Heat, and it's not just because they are ridiculously good. It's because they stand for the movement of star talent to major markets to create super teams, and that's something a lot of teams don't respect.
With Allen joining the Heat, Miami has added another former superstar to their roster, and the league certainly will look down on that move throughout the 2012-'13 season.
The increase animosity that will be drawn to the Heat because of Allen's signing will increase the level of intensity other teams bring to the court against Miami, and that's not good news for the Big Three in South Beach.
Financial Strain on Heat's Front Office If Allen Doesn't Stay Healthy
Ray Allen's three-year, $9 million contract isn't exactly breaking the bank for the Miami Heat, but when you have LeBron, Wade and Bosh taking up $35-plus million each of the next few seasons, every contract is extremely important.
If Allen doesn't produce at the 10 points per game level that the Heat will expect him to this next season, his contract will become dead weight, and that's something the Heat cannot afford.
The last thing the Heat need is Allen taking up a portion of their payroll and not putting up solid bench production, especially if it's related to him being injured—which is something we've grown accustomed to with Allen.
Lack of Defensive Pressure on the Wing
As Allen gets older, the one thing that he's lost is his ability to be a shut-down defender on the perimeter.
The physicality in his game on the defensive side of the ball is lacking, and the Heat will have to compensate for that in the half court, but more importantly, they will have to compensate for it in transition.
When Allen is on the court, the Heat will have to find ways to ensure that younger and more athletic shooting guards don't break out in transition and hurt them in the fast break.
The Heat must go into the 2012-13 season with the understanding that Allen will be a liability on defense, and Allen must also work on that if he wants to help the Heat win the 2013 NBA title.
Forcing Heat to Play More in the Half Court
The Heat aren't a team that excels in the half court. With LeBron, Wade and even Mario Chalmers, they excel at slashing into the paint and running an isolation offense.
That could change with Allen on the roster. Allen's talents are best utilized in the half court, with plays being drawn up for him and screens being set to free him up on the perimeter.
That's not going to fly though with the Big Three in South Beach because that's not the kind of team that the Heat are, and they have an NBA Championship to prove just how effective they can be without a solidified half-court set.
Allen must come to Miami and fit into their isolation system instead of hoping that the Heat will build their half-court offense around him. If he expects to be in a more team focused offense, he came to the wrong place.
Slowing the Heat Down in Transition
What makes the Heat such a dangerous team is how quickly they can turn a long rebound or a turnover into an easy offensive opportunity on the offensive side of the ball.
When LeBron and Wade are in transition, they are nearly unstoppable. Allen isn't exactly the same kind of player.
He is more suited to stay on the perimeter and shoot lights out from beyond the arc, and while that's certainly a positive, it's also something that could hold the Heat back in the near future. Getting out in transition is what makes the Heat such a great team and having Allen and his aging body out on the court could keep the Heat from being as dominant in transition as they were this past season.
Teams will be able to cheat on LeBron and Wade because they know Allen lacks the athleticism to excel in transition, and that could hurt the Heat.