BOSTON — Brad Stevens, a childhood Indiana Pacers fan, doesn’t throw out comparisons to Reggie Miller frivolously. Still, he recognizes that when it comes to sheer volume of 3-pointers made, even Miller takes a backseat to Ray Allen.
Stevens and the Boston Celtics had the misfortune of having to face Allen on Wednesday, with the Miami Heat visiting TD Garden. Prior to the matchup, Stevens was asked if he sees anything in Allen, the NBA’s all-time leader in career 3-point field goals, that is reminiscent of Miller, the Pacers great.
“One of the things that really stands out in this league is, when you leave guys open, they usually make it,” Stevens said. “The really good players, they’re really consistent at making the big ones. You look at Chris Bosh, the number of shots he’s made here recently, big, huge game-winners from 23 feet to 18 feet over and over and over.
“Then there’s elite guys that can do it standing still and running. That’s what Reggie was and that’s what Ray is. There’s not many guys like them.”
There are a number of reasons that players with Miller and Allen’s versatile shooting ability are so rare. Miller’s competitive fire legendarily rivaled Michael Jordan’s, while Allen’s tireless preparation has led to one of the most consistent, if least conventional, releases. Then there is the sheer distance of the arc from the hoop, requiring a unique combination of strength and touch.
Any novice who has ever toed the line knows that 23 feet, 9 inches feels like a mile.
“I think the NBA distance on the 3-point line makes it a lot more difficult to be running out, away from the basket with your right or left foot, and shoot that thing on the move,” Stevens said. “There are very few guys you’re really fearful of doing that. I think Reggie was maybe the guy in the ’90s and Ray Allen’s been the guy in the 2000s.”