After losing to the Spurs in the NBA Finals, Ray Allen was not sure whether he would return for one more season. He’ll be 39 years-old when next season starts, and even though he slowed down this year, averaging single digits in points for the first time in his career, Allen’s still a very useful asset for any contender.
According to reports, after taking a week to think about it, Allen does want to give it one more shot, with the caveat that he would like to play with LeBron, wherever he ends up. Duh. As Allen gets up there in years and loses part of his game which require young legs and athleticism, the spot-up shot will keep him relevant. Even if he can no longer run through multiple screens like he used to, playing with LeBron means any teammate will get open looks on the perimeter regardless.
Conceivably, Allen can play until he’s 50 by just camping out for the occasional corner three. Given his preparation and attention to details, it’s unlikely Allen’s shooting skills will suddenly deteriorate. In the playoffs, Allen shot just 38.8% from three, which says a lot about the bar he’s set. He’s a career 40% shooter from downtown, and even at the percentages he was putting up last season, he’ll remain a very effective option on the floor.
If LeBron does return to the Heat, and Allen with him, the team will need to manage his minutes. He averaged 26.5 mpg this season (25.8 last year) and was asked to defend opposing two guards in Dwyane Wade’s frequent absences, laborious playing time for a guy who’s creeping up on 40.
There’s no doubt Allen can still be a very useful basketball player. How useful, will depend on where he ends up and whether the supporting cast is strong enough to keep his minutes and role at a manageable level.
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