Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire
Over the course of the Miami Heat's training camp, Hot Hot Hoops will give player profiles for all Heat players. First up is the man who was Pat Riley's top offseason target: Ray Allen.
Who is he?
A 10-time NBA All-Star, Ray Allen played previously for the Milwaukee Bucks, Seattle SuperSonics and Boston Celtics. He's now 37 years old and coming off of ankle surgery, but Erik Spoelstra said today that he looks like he's in his mid-20s.
What will his role be?
Allen will essentially take the role that was initially intended for Mike Miller during the Big Three era: come off the bench to shoot open 3s for 20-25 minutes a game. Although Allen missed 20 games last season, he is not nearly as injury-prone as Miller. He keeps himself in great condition and will probably stand as the Heat's consistent fourth option.
As I mentioned in an article I wrote about him in July, the all-time 3-point shooting leader will provide a much-needed scoring punch off the bench. When Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh rest, Miami's offense tends to devolve into LeBron-James-or-bust. With Allen now spelling Wade, James won't have the carry the entire offensive burden when he's the only star on the court. Unlike some of the Heat's other shooters -- Mike Miller, James Jones, Mario Chalmers, Shane Battier, etc. -- Allen excels at moving off screens for jumpers. The one-time NBA champion will certainly relish opportunities to spot up when James and Wade get him open shots, but he can also diversify Miami's offense during those moments in the first and third quarters that too often become stagnant.
Spoelstra emphasized today that he will play Allen and Wade together, with no true point guard in the backcourt. Expect Allen to play during crunch time, and his minutes will increase during the playoffs. Acquiring Allen was such a coup for Miami because it makes the defending champions much harder to defend. When the Los Angeles Lakers and Heat meet, Steve Nash may be faced with the difficult task of chasing Allen off screens from the perimeter, where Dwight Howard won't be able to cover for him.
What are his strengths and weaknesses?
Allen registered a true shooting percentage of more than 60 percent for the fourth-straight season in 2011-12. The 3-point shot is extremely valuable in today's NBA, and Allen made 45.3 percent of his 3s last year. He's automatic from the free-throw line, so the Heat won't have to send less-than-stellar free-throw shooters like Wade or James to the line for a technical foul and possibly leave points on the board.
The Boston Celtics played much better defense with Avery Bradley on the floor instead of Allen, but he won't take the tough defensive matchups on a team with James, Wade and Battier. Allen is a good team defender, so the Heat won't become a bad defensive team when he's on the floor.
Allen will outscore Bosh for at least 15 games this season.