The Miami Heat pulled off a stunning move in getting Ray Allen in free agency, but how much does the 37-year-old have left in the tank?
The Miami Heat pulled off one of the league's most shocking signings, stealing Ray Allen away from the rival Boston Celtics. But how much will Allen's signing move the needle in their quest to repeat? We answer that question in our Heat offseason review.
SIGNED RAY ALLEN
Given the Heat's offseason budget, they couldn't have done any better than Allen. For that reason alone, this signing is an absolute coup, especially because it temporarily weakened their biggest rival in the Boston Celtics. That said, I'd caution against thinking that Allen will make as big a difference to the Heat as he did with the Celtics.
Why? A couple reasons. First and foremost, I'm not sure Allen is ever going to be fully healthy again. He limped around with bone chips in his ankle for all of last season, and it resulted in his worst season in recent memory. In the playoffs, he suddenly lost his shooting touch, hitting only 39 percent of his field goals and 30 percent of his threes. He had surgery to fix things over the summer, and yet, just a couple days ago, he told the media that his ankles still weren't fully healthy. In a related story, Allen has made just eight of his 27 three-point attempts in the preseason.
Beyond that, I wonder how well Allen will adjust to having fewer plays run for him. In interviews with several reporters, he noted that he got tired of being the "decoy" in all of Boston's sets. For example, here's what he told Joseph Goodman of the Miami Herald:
"In Boston, they were telling me they were going to bring me off the bench - ‘We're going to play you less minutes' - and all I asked was, ‘How are you going to use me because the last two years you've been using me as decoys,' " Allen said. " ‘You're running all these plays for me just to pass it to somewhere else and you're not putting me into any scoring opportunities and I'm just standing over in the corner the majority of games.' "
Can Allen really expect things to be any different in Miami with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh? The Heat have talked about running some plays for Allen, but how long is that actually going to continue? There are only so many possessions to go around, after all. More importantly, one of the main reasons the Heat wanted Allen was because defenders would be reluctant to leave him open to help on the Heat's big guns. In essence, they wanted him because he's the league's best decoy. If Allen objected to that kind of role with the Celtics, how long will it take for him to accept it with the Heat?
All this makes Allen a good signing, not a great one. He will certainly be a big help in the Heat's quest to repeat, but at this point in his career, I don't think he's going to lift the team to another level all by himself.
SIGNED RASHARD LEWIS
I watched every one of Lewis' games over the past two years because he was a member of the Washington Wizards, and frankly, he looked finished. He had no lift on his jumpers, no ability to get to the basket and no chance at defending quicker players. But there's also a 20-25 percent chance that he has something left in the tank that he didn't show in D.C., whether it's because of the losing situation and/or because of Flip Saunders' insistence to turn him back into a small forward after his rise as a stretch 4 in Orlando. For a Heat team that values versatility and perimeter shooting so much, that small chance is worth the price to sign him.
LET RONNY TURIAF GO
Turiaf gave the Heat very little last year, so it makes sense that the Heat cut him loose. They replaced him with Josh Harrellson, but it's not clear whether Harrellson will make the roster. That raises this question: Do the Heat need more size, even if it compromises their style of play? I think they might, and I'm not sure where they'll find it.