On Friday Ray Allen decided that he was going to opt out of signing with the Boston Celtics, Minnesota Timberwolves and Memphis Grizzlies. Instead he will be taking his talents to South Beach to join the championship core of Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh. While fans seemed shocked that Allen decided to going the defending champions, especially the Boston faithful, I was not too alarmed when I heard the all-time leader in three-point shooting was heading to the Heat.
Money didn’t matter in this deal. Allen has played a sixteen-year illustrious career, in which he has stacked up a career average of 20.0 points and a 40.0 three-point percentage. He has nothing left to prove and only wants to chase another championship, and the best fit for him to achieve that was in Miami.
Due to ankle problems Allen only played in 46 regular season games and 18 postseason games, and greatly underperformed in the playoffs this season. He posted postseason worsts in points (averaged 10.7 points), field goal percentage (shot 39.5 percent) and three-point percentage (shot 30.4 percent).
After signing Kevin Garnett to a three-year deal and having Paul Pierce for the 2012-13 season and a player option in 2013-14, the Celtics almost kept together their original Big Three. Instead Allen was whisked away to join Miami’s tandem of three for three years. Whether the reported disputes between Rajon Rondo and Allen are true or not, that wasn’t the main reason why the 10-time NBA All-Star decided to part ways with the Celtics. He is just a better fit for the type of offense that the Miami Heat has been running since the 2011-12 season tipped off.
The very up-tempo offense that the Heat displayed all season long featured the Heat running up and down the court with an assault that had defenses gasping for air. Whether it was a quick alley-oop dish to the hoop or a nice kick out to a Miami wing player. The speed and spread aspects that head coach Erik Spoelstra adopted from Chip Kelly’s Oregon Ducks helped the Heat get to the hoop easier, creating open outside opportunities as the game progressed.
Allen will bring more open space to the Heat offense when it comes to crunch time, providing a default option to go to when James or Wade are being double teamed by opponents. What Shane Battier did to the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Finals this season is what the Heat are expecting Allen to do all of next year, if he stays healthy.
Toward the end of last season Avery Bradley was taking Allen’s starting spot in the Celtics’ lineup, as the hobbled two guard was struggling to knock down shots that he had been hitting his entire basketball life.
The Heat are hoping that this is a fresh start for Allen in Miami, as he wouldn’t have agreed to sign with the Heat if the 37-year-old didn’t think he could run with LeBron and company. Jesus Shuttlesworth will hover around the three-point line, putting pressure off the Big Three as defenders will either leave Allen open to double up on Wade, James or Bosh or will stay with Allen giving other Miami players an easier route to the bucket.
Allen will still be the lethal shooter that he has been throughout his career, and I believe his three-point and field goal percentages will increase from last season. The former Celtic will thrive once again in a championship atmosphere, but he will miss the excitement that the TD Garden brought every game.