In honor of the Heat's quest towards a consecutive title, I'm highlighting the squad's unsung heroes, players not named LeBron or Dwade. There are 8 weeks until the Finals conclude. This is the second in the series and will focus on Ray Allen.
Heat fans need to remember the sacrifices Ray Allen made when he came to Miami. He departed Boston, a city where he was loved. They wanted to keep Ray Allen, offering him more money than the Miami Heat and Allen still chose to play with Boston's nemesis.
But Ray Allen is too nice to hate. He delivered a championship to Boston and when he returned they booed him every time he touched the ball. But those boos were not out of hate. They booed because they missed him. But who are we to pity the Boston Celtics? We knew the gift we received.
Remember the first game this year? We played Boston at the AAA arena and Allen scored 19 points in a 120-107 blowout which proved to be the perfect precursor to the perfect season, so far.
However, this season Ray Allen has sacrificed his game. In 17 NBA seasons, Ray Allen is averaging career lows in almost every statistical category. His 25.8 average minutes per game is more than ten minutes below his 36.2 career average. His scoring also dropped considerably. The 10.9 points he averaged this season are noticeably lower than his 19.4 career average.
But everyone knew Ray Allen's role would change for the Miami Heat. The NBA's all-time leader in three-pointers (and new playoff leader as well) would transition into more of a role player.
He'd become the man behind the man behind the man (behind the man).
There were times this year when Allen was remarkably quiet. In fact, there were thirty games when Allen did not score ten points. Can you believe that? 30. That's head-scratching.
But it was never truly about the regular season. And if you had to choose a MVP for the first round of this year's playoffs, it might very well be Ray Allen. Oh, boy did he come alive, ironically against the team he played his first seven years in the league with, the Bucks. In the first round of the playoffs, Ray Allen averaged 16.5 points, playing two games where he scored more than 20 points. Keep leaving the best 3-point shooter in the league wide open and see what happens.
Ray Allen may very well be a Celtic for life, but Miami is very grateful to have him this year. He's a classy guy, a great role model and a clutch player. What more could anyone possible ask for?
Week one profile: Chris Birdman Andersen