Ray Allen has evolved over the course of his NBA career into something of a legend. The NBA’s best three point shooter is the second oldest player in the association, but at times appears to be 25. Allen’s resilience and durability allow him to remain an extreme threat, and this is of course a response to his elite training and nutrition habits coupled with multitudes of experience (Something Eddie Curry never learned). Coming off his worst NBA season, many were disgruntled Allen decided not to hang up his jersey following his picturesque Game 6 game tying shot against the San Antonio Spurs that helped spark the Miami Heat in game 7 and sent the Spurs home ringless. In a sense fans have some reason to wonder why he’s still playing. At 38 years old, Allen has two championships, the recognition of being the NBA’s all-time best shooter, and is a certified legend. So why is he still playing? The answer is simple: Because he can.
After all these years Ray Allen can still trade punches with the best in the league, and when called upon in the crucial moments he can deliver the knockout punch. It’s hard not to mention Allen’s name when discussing the most clutch players of all time, his portfolio of clutch moments stretch all the way back to his time at UCONN and he continues to add pages to his portfolio at an alarming rate. As aforementioned Allen’s season numbers were sub-par as he shot his lowest 3-point percentage in years at 37%, (suffering an atrocious shooting slump mid-season) and in doing so averaged his lowest points per game ever at 9.6. Nevertheless, it’s hard not to acknowledge the fact that Allen is hardly the focal point of this Miami Heat club where LeBron rules and thus his stat lines take a hit. Allen knows his role on this team is to come up big, and has embraced it time and time again. It’s just incredible that he’s still doing it at such an elite level.
Allen’s sub par season numbers are still stellar basketball statistics, our disappointment only resonates from the fact that we place him on such a high pedestal due to his past accomplishments. Analyzing his shot chart trends we can make assumptions that Ray is still an elite sniper especially from the right corner where he shoots 47%. Where things get interesting, however is how efficient Allen remains in the mid-range. This season, for whatever reason Ray has been driving to the hoop for floaters and dunks, and pulling up from the middle of the key for contested jump shots. In doing so he’s been relatively effective and his shooting has of course allowed Miami to escape from numerous sticky situations. Ray is still a key component of this Heat franchise and that is made evident in his post-season shot chart.
It’s impossible to deny, and for lack of better terms that Ray Allen is killing it. His three point shooting is outrageous, as he’s sky rocketed from 47% to 66% in the right corner and successfully increased his percentages everywhere except the left wings. Allen was critical in burying the Brooklyn Nets just two short weeks ago, where he not only acted as a marksman, but as a playmaker as well. Of course though, Ray was the one to take it home with a key three point shot with 32 seconds remaining, allowing Miami to steal back momentum and bury the Nets, while at the same time resurrecting his alter-ego Jesus Shuttlesworth.
Of course it was unbeknownst to all that this was just the beginning oh his post-season dominance as Allen came alive once again going 4-4 from downtown in the final quarter of game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals successfully destroying Indiana’s chance at coming back and making LeBron go crazy in a gif-worthy happy dance.
Presently Allen resonates extreme confidence and his shooting stroke is awe-worthy. The speed at which he takes his shot is incredible, and his consistency is unparalleled. Indiana couldn’t guard him, as even with smallest of space Allen was able to score. As a basketball fan it was breathtaking to see, even after seeing him perform similar feats at different times in the past.
Ray Allen is a special basketball player. His legacy has already been cemented as an all-time great, yet he still continues to surprise us. At 38 years old and in the twilight of his career Allen should be settling down and becoming slower, but he isn’t. Motivated by resilience, and his competitive nature Allen resembles a playground kid with a chip on his shoulder and something to prove. It’s a joy to watch, and demonstrates the undeniable fact that Jesus Shuttlesworth still lives.