Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Looking For A Ray Of Light

I don't want to come down too hard on Ray Allen less than halfway through the season, especially when he has played some of the best defense of his career. But before people start blaming Pierce for current offensive problems, they should look at Allen. Fox brought up some good points about Allen's current issues, and honestly Ray has hardly been a dominant presence this year, while KG and Pierce consistently have been. Ray's PER the last six years:

'02-03: 21.4
'03-04: 21.8
'04-05: 21.0
'05-06: 22.3
'06-07: 21.7
'07-08: 16.0

That, ladies and gentlemen, is a drop off. And it's worsened in recent weeks. I have been able to convince myself that Ray's offensive decline was okay because of his veteran leadership and defense. But now I am worried, as you would expect from what I recently wrote about big salaried non-All Star players. Ray has to step it up for the C's to play at a pinnacle level. If that means more rest, fine. Most of us find it silly that he is closer to 40 minutes a game as opposed to 30. And it is okay if he needs a couple weeks off to regain his form. But the key is to get Ray back to near an All Star level, where he has been for most of the last decade.

Without Ray being brought in there would be no KG, so we have no choice but to live with the consequences of his possible decline. But the popular theory that shooting guards have precipitous falloffs might again be proving itself correct. If that is the case, things could get dicey. Hopefully I am just jumping the gun on this, and being overly emotional about the last few games. But prior to calling out Pierce or KG, I think it is important we take Allen to task.


The Fox said...

What do I like most about writing on this site? Everyone has a different perspective. I've been classified as a Pierce-hater and a Ray Allen apologist - but thankfully Tim has stirred the pot on the Ray debate.

I think the main reason for his PER dropoff is because he's playing too many useless minutes. As I stated yesterday, his only role in the offense is to shoot threes. Even for a classic shooter like Ray - his role is highly predictable and you can see how often his shot is getting challenged.

I'd like to see Ray be more productive with his minutes - and that means allowing him to lead the offense when Pierce is off the floor. Cut Ray's first quarter minutes back, bring Tony "The One-Man Circus" Allen in, and when Pierce leaves the parquet, bring in House and Ray to fill it up. This means easier shots for the both of them because they have similar offensive games and demand defensive attention.

By cutting back on the minutes, Ray will also be more fresh for crunch time and down the stretch - which is what we want to think about from this point forward.

Jack said...

Ray's definitely had a bit of a star-crossed season so far, although I still think that his presence has been more valuable than his numbers suggest. Also, before the season the question everyone was asking was whether the C's would be able to get their stars to sacrifice stats and ego for team, and Ray's definitely been an example of that (although whether that's a choice or simply the result of declining effectiveness is another question).

With the incredible start that this team has gotten off to, I'd like to see Glenn rest guys pretty liberally down the stretch. Granted, it's still really early, but I think that the most key aspect of someone like Allen is making sure that he's available for the playoffs. If he's broken down and ineffective in June, this team is fucked.

chicagogreen said...

Ray Allen's fall off is absolutley the most worrisome thing about this team for me. But I do not blame RA. The coaches have got to learn how to use one of the best shooters the game has ever seen. You do not hand an elite shooter the ball with a defender already on him. You get him open off the ball. This is the whole teams responsibility, much like feeding the post, the whole team needs to work to set the screens and deliver the ball where and when he can shoot (or drive, which he is very good at). doc has got to get his act together on this front, he is wasting ray allen's talents here.