Throughout the season, there has been a lot of talk of what team Ray Allen will decide to go to, or whether he will come back at all. The future Hall of Famer has been taking his sweet time in making up his mind. Thus far, he has been rumored to be connected to the Hawks, Cleveland Cavaliers, Golden State Warriors, Washington Wizards, San Antonio Spurs, and Los Angeles Clippers. So, basically, any team in contention that could use a shooter.
Everyone knows who Ray Allen is. He’s one of the best 3-point shooters of all time, he won championships with the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat, and now half of the teams in the league are vying for the thirty-nine-year old’s service for half of a season.
For his career, Allen is shooting an absurd 40 percent from downtown, which is the main reason teams want him. Allen will help any team’s spacing, without a doubt, and it is fun to think about him in Mike Budenholzer’s offense. For the first time in his career, Ray shot more 3s than 2s last season and that should be expected to be the same for the second half of the season. He should be expected to run around the perimeter, looking for opportunities to knock down a triple.
One reason Allen is going to be used as a sniper is because he’s no longer athletic enough to consistently drive to the rim, especially against the über-athletic guards in the NBA these days. It seems a little outlandish to expect a guy Allen’s age to drive and blow by someone like Jimmy Butler or DeMar DeRozan.
Another possible reason is that since Allen has gotten up there in age, he will need to take care of his body a lot more. As players age, their bodies are more fragile. Just take a look at Kobe Bryant. It’s not an exact comparison since Bryant has played so many minutes, but he keeps getting hurt because his body has worn down. Allen has taken a lot of time off, so that could help, but it could then lead to him being rusty, and the Hawks can’t afford that right now.
The Hawks are currently 43-10, which is good for second best in the entire league and first in the Eastern Conference. Bringing in a new guy who hasn’t played at all this season could really hurt the team chemistry, and the way they play. For instance, Allen is going to want 20-25 minutes, most likely. Who will he replace in the rotation? Sefolosha is hurt, but he’s a good defender, so he needs to play. Dennis Schroder has locked himself in as the backup point guard, and the same can be said for Mike Scott as the backup power forward. Kent Bazemore has played pretty well, and he brings a ton of energy off the bench. It just doesn’t seem like a great situation to bring in a guy with a set roster.
While Bazemore and Sefolosha are better defenders and bring more energy, Allen definitely can help on offense. Bazemore and Sefolosha have Offensive Ratings of 92 and 107. Allen’s was 111 last season. Neither of the two guards are going to shoot 40 percent from 3 on over four attempts. Having Ray Allen come off the bench behind Kyle Korver just doesn’t seem fair.
With Allen, the Hawks could also go with some interesting lineups. If they really wanted, they could go small with Jeff Teague, Allen, Korver, Carroll, and either Paul Millsap or Al Horford. Just imagine a lineup with two of the best three point shooters to ever play the game with a very good point guard, as well as one of the best big men in the game. The Hawks already fun offense could become a whole lot more enjoyable.
Allen did have the worst scoring season of his career, but he only played in 26.5 minutes per game, and had the lowest Usage Rating of his career at 16.8 percent. He also had the highest 3-Point Attempt Rate of his career at 56.9 percent, compared to his previous high of 51 percent set the preceding year.
As I mentioned earlier, Allen is going to have a hard time scoring off of the athletic guards, but he is also going to have a really hard time guarding them, as well. Last season with the Miami Heat, Allen had a Defensive Rating of 109, and is at 108 for his career. No one on the Hawks roster has a DRtg higher than 107, and that’s John Jenkins who has only played a grand total of 72 minutes.
There are certainly some positives to adding Ray Allen to the Atlanta Hawks lineup, but I believe it is in their best interest to stand pat. I really am torn, but as the saying goes, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” The Hawks have a lot going for them right now, and it doesn’t seem ideal to add something new, especially this far into the season.