Ray Allen’s Claim of Being Phased Into Lesser Role in Celtics Offense Supported By Statistics


Ray Allen's Claim of Being Phased Into Lesser Role in Celtics Offense Supported By StatisticsRay Allen
was always accessible and forthcoming with
reporters during his five years here, so if Bostonians are surprised that he
has taken to sharing his account of his departure from the Celtics with the
Miami media, then they simply were not paying attention. People ask questions. Allen answers them. The process is neither new nor complicated.

If you still care what Allen says about his disagreement
with Doc Rivers' system or his rift with Rajon Rondo, congratulations on your
patience and your dedication to all things related to the Celtics. At this point, talk
is not even cheap, it's worthless. Allen and the Celtics can settle their
differences on the court on Oct. 30 and three more times after that in the
regular season, followed by four to seven games in a probable Eastern Conference
playoff series.

Still, although Allen's feelings are
subjective, one of his gripes is based in observable fact. Whether Allen actually felt
appreciated in his final days in Boston cannot be proved or disproved, but his
claim about being phased into a lesser role in the offense in his last years with the Celtics is indisputable.

"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 told the Miami Herald. "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."

Anyone who has followed the Celtics closely in recent years
will simply nod knowingly at this comment. Rivers occasionally mentions how he
would sign Reggie Miller to a contract today and put the Hall of Fame shooter
on the court tomorrow, because Miller's presence alone — however rusty he may be — would stretch the defense.
Rivers mentioned Allen in that same context last season when Allen was hobbled
by ankle injuries, and once Allen returned to the court he indeed was assigned
to simply stand outside the arc on many plays.

Forget anecdotal evidence, though. The numbers speak for

Here is Allen's overall field goal percentage, 3-point field
goal percentage and effective field goal percentage from his last four years
with the Celtics:

Year FG% 3FG% eFG%

*eFG% adjusts for the extra point and greater degree of difficulty for a 3-point shot

Now here are Allen's shot attempts per game in that same
time frame:


Allen's accuracy gradually got better every season, with
the exception of that one-year blip in 2009-10, and by last season he hit
virtually every other 3-pointer he attempted — when he was on the court. Meanwhile
his number of shots decreased, so that by last season he took the same number of shots per game as Brandon Bass.

Whether Celtics fans think Allen is a traitor for signing
with the rival Heat or that he is whining about his role is irrelevant in this case. In
Allen's mind, at least, the better he shot in Boston, the fewer shots he got, and the
evidence supports his view. Perhaps "decoy" is too strong a term —
after all, Allen was still the Celtics' go-to guy when they needed to score a
bunch of points late in the game, and Rivers may have been shrewdly preserving
his 36-year-old sharpshooter for just such an event. In order to best utilize
Allen's skills, Rivers may have recognized that he needed to parcel out shots
and minutes conservatively.

But the whys and hows are moot. Allen's opinion of why his
role lessened surely contrasts with Rivers', and while those conflicting attitudes
may make for interesting headlines, the inalienable fact is that Allen's impact on offense did indeed lessen over time. The Heat seem to have promised more shots and a larger role
for Allen in their offense as a whole. Whether that is a good thing for his surgically repaired ankles is
to be determined, but regardless of the repercussions, Allen appears to have
gotten what he wanted, which he was not getting from the Celtics.

Have a question for
Ben Watanabe? Send it to him via Twitter at @BenjeeBallgame or send it here.

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