Last season, Allen averaged 9.6 points per game and shooting 44.2 percent from the field for the Heat, which included 37.5 percent from beyond the three-point arc. He created offense off the dribble, shooting 39.5 percent on pull-up jumpers last season.
So with four playoff-caliber teams in the mix, here is why Allen fits with each one.
Allen’s role on Cleveland will be simple: shoot the ball.
“Ray is someone who fits us as a shooter,” Cavaliers General Manager David Griffin said in September. “His championship pedigree fits us at a really high level. With James, Mike and LeBron here, I think he’d feel comfortable with our group.”
The Heat scored 112.7 points per 100 possessions and had an effective field goal rate of 56.7 percent when James and Allen shared the court last season, punishing opponents from the corner three to the tune of 43.1 percent.
This season the Cavs are shooting 37.1 percent from those areas and 36.7 percent overall from three-point range. And that could be what is muting David Blatt’s squad, which is based in the Princeton offense.
In the full Princeton, there are no plays. Well, there are plays, but there are not called plays. According to the movement of the ball, and the movement of the center, you’re gonna get into certain sets that you read according to how the defense plays you.
That’s the part of the Princeton offense you can see in my teams — the reading and the multi-option possibilities off of any play. The Princeton offense is something that takes a long time to develop. It requires a particular kind of player, and more than anything else, it requires the giving up on the part of all the players of almost everything they know.
But elements of the Princeton offense, in my mind — they are the right way to play.
If the three-point shot is not an effective option, then Cleveland could continue to struggle.
The challenge to adding Allen is if there is enough touches to go around. Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving have both seen their usage decline, making us left to wonder how much Allen would be involved in the offense.
Jimmy Butler is Chicago’s best all-around shooter, but he made just 28.3 percent of his three-point shots last season, his only weak spot in an otherwise solid campaign. Mike Dunleavy and Derrick Rose each take close to five three-pointers per game, but neither has been very effective.
Adding Allen would help space the floor and allow Rose to drive to the basket more often, where the team generates eight points per game.
Plus, Bulls Coach Tom Thibodeau was an assistant with the Celtics during Allen’s time there, a time when Allen shined defensively.
The Spurs could use a boost to their offense, which is currently scoring 103.8 points per 100 possessions (22nd in the league). They also love the three-point shot, taking 27.2 of all field goals from beyond the arc. However, they are shooting just 28.2 percent on those shots, second to last in the NBA.
Plus, the Spurs still have their full mid-level exception available, which means they can offer Allen more money than any of the other suitors. The Cavaliers, for example, can only offer the veteran’s minimum while San Antonio can offer up to $5.3 million. And that could be the tipping point.
“A lot of teams want to be able to get me at the veteran’s minimum,” Allen said this summer. “I still have an ego, too. I still have a service to provide, and teams still have to pay me what I feel my presence is worth. I have to take that into consideration, if it’s worth putting my body through what it will take over 82 games.”
Aside from reuniting with Paul Pierce, Allen could be the perfect replacement for the departed Trevor Ariza and fill a gaping hole behind Bradley Beal at shooting guard.
Adding Allen bolsters one of the league’s best back courts and instantly makes them more of a playoff threat.
Based on the chance at playing for a championship coupled with getting the most money for his services, Allen’s best bet is to join the San Antonio Spurs. Plus, the Spurs would be happy to be on the winning side of plays like this.