By Craig Kwasniewski
A few days have passed since the draft-day deal for Ray Allen and let me tell you... I really like that how the deal turned out for the C's. I'll give you 4 reasons why:
1. Boston didn't really have to give up much for the All-Star. They acquired Allen and the draft rights to Glen Davis from the Oklahoma City Supersonics in exchange for forward Wally Szczerbiak, guard Delonte West and the draft rights to Jeff Green. Delonte was a good, but not great point guard. The future is now for Rajon Rondo and we really get to see how well he faces up to the pressure of starting at the point in just his second year. But other than that they lost Szczerbiak (and his year supply of gel) and Jeff Green (who won't be a factor until Pierce is on the downside of his career). Getting an All-Star without having to trade Jefferson was the key.
2. Ray Allen has one of the best mid-range jumpers in the game. Ray Allen and Rip Hamilton are by far the best pure shooters in the game. This will help spread the defense and open up the low post for Jefferson plus it'll give Pierce space to slash to the hole.
3. Don't worry about the surgery. This one I love the best. With the OKC Sonics faced with missing the playoffs, Ray Allen has surgery on both of his ankles. Celtic fans of all people should understand that the Sonics were tanking. But given the overall sports negativity that emanates from Boston (BTW a city that has FOUR World Championships this decade), a minor surgery later and he's Mitch Richmond with the 2002 Lakers. And even if Allen loses a step it won't matter... the guy can flat out shoot. Instead of lamenting the impending death of Allen, look at the latter stages of the likes of Del Curry and Dale Ellis, two of the greatest shooters in the game who still contributed way past their prime.
4. Ray Allen is coming off career scoring numbers in Seattle. Before the
tank-job surgery, Allen was averaging a career-high 26.4 ppg. Even though his field goal percentage has dropped a little, I still see Allen dropping 18-24 a night for the next three years. As I said, what he'll do is spread out the defense and add a third legitimate scoring option.
I see the C's moving up into the top 4 of the Eastern Conference in 2007-08, but with Doc Rivers at the helm they are a first-round loss. It's 2008-09 that I really see the C's as a dangerous team. Rondo will have a whole year as a starter under his belt, Jefferson will be more polished, the new Big Three will learn how to play together and... if Doc Rivers is fired and replaced by a respectable head Coach, the C's are a serious Eastern Conference contender.
I really like the Ray Allen deal, now if only the Lakers can pull of a deal not involving the name Steven Blake.