Experience + Talent = Ray Allen
When it comes to playoff basketball, there are two things that aid in a team’s success: talent and experience. The Miami HEAT roster is filled with talent and, now, has one of the most experienced players the NBA has ever seen in shooting guard Ray Allen.
In his 17th season, Allen, who is the league’s all-time leader both in three-point field goals made and attempted, has played in a total of 135 playoff games, more than any other player on the HEAT’s roster. Allen’s experience has paid off greatly as he helped lead Miami to a first round sweep over the Milwaukee Bucks and is the team’s second leading scorer, in the postseason, averaging 14.0 points per game. In the series against the Bucks, Allen added another milestone to his resume and passed Reggie Miller with his 321st post season three-pointer becoming the league’s playoff leader in three-point shots made.
Despite playing a limited role with the HEAT, Allen, 37, has embraced his responsibility on the team. “I just watched and saw how guys did things and tried to adapt and ingratiated myself as much as I could, and they accepted me," Allen said. "They allowed me to have a place, and I felt very welcomed from the start.”
Along with his ‘on court’ experience, Allen also brings many intangibles to the organization. His rigorous work ethic has already begun rubbing off on his teammates including HEAT forward, LeBron James. After winning this season’s MVP award, James mentioned that he wants to improve his free throw shooting. James turned to Allen, who shoots .894 percent from the free throw line, for guidance.
“He’s great in every other aspect,” Allen said. “This year, we’ve shot over a thousand free throws together. We’ve been trying to find a way to get him comfortable.”
Even when teaching others, Allen still finds ways to improve his game. This postseason, Allen is shooting a career-best .964 percent from the foul line. This is what makes Ray Allen such a valuable asset heading into the postseason. When Allen is on the court, he is capitalizing off each moment and aiding in the team’s success. When Allen is not on the court, he serves in a
‘player-coach’ kind of role, aiding in the development of his teammates. According to HEAT Head Coach Erik Spoelstra, Allen is fitting in quite nicely.
“He’s given us exactly what we wanted this year,” Spoelstra said.
Even though this is his first year with the HEAT, Allen has woven himself into the fabric of this team. As the season progresses, Allen continues to learn the culture of the Miami HEAT organization while his teammates get to learn from one of the greatest basketball players in NBA history. Both parties are benefitting.
“This is a pretty good group of veteran guys,” he said. “We share a common goal, and everyone looks to see where they can help. Sometimes you have to sit back and get out of the way. Knowing when to be passive and when to be aggressive comes from all of us playing all these years of basketball. Being a team requires sacrifice.’’