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Everybody Loves Ray

Or at least Doc Rivers, Gary Washburn, and myself.

Anyone entertaining thoughts about dealing Ray Allen and his monster expiring contract this season, should read today’s Globe’s Gary Washburn article:

“Even if he doesn’t shoot well, you still have to guard him and it gives us great spacing,’’ Rivers said. “I put Ray Allen on the floor and if he misses 50 in a row, on the 51st play, if I tell him to stand behind the 3 [point line] there’s going to be a guy right next to him. And it gives us spacing and even if he’s not shooting, his value is immeasurable.’’

The importance of spacing cannot be overstated.  More often than not, Ray will knock down a wide open shot should a team decide to double off of him.  I also believe he’s on his own road to recovery.  He’s seems to be alternating between on games and off games, which is a good sign that he could return to form by midseason.  Who knows? Perhaps changing his offseason routine and getting into his self-explained “best shape of his life” hindered his shot.  Maybe his son Walker’s health issues are hindering his concentration.  Or maybe he’s just starting unsually slow.  Whatever it is, it’s not a cause for concern….yet.

Earlier in the article, Doc describes Ray’s stepping up on defense:

“It’s funny you noticed because we were kidding with him that I thought it was one of his better games,’’ Rivers said of the Oklahoma City game. “And San Antonio as well on [Manu] Ginobili at times. What we want him to do as much as possible is to keep the ball square and then contest shots and I thought he did both. Harden, I don’t think, got a shot off without a hand in his face. He was right in his face. When Ray does that, it brings another dimension to our defense.’’

A few commenters on this site feel like Ray is completely useless on defense but I feel like that is a bit overstated.  There’s no doubt that Ray Allen is not an elite defender.  But I’ve always felt he does a good job staying in front of his man, not gambling on steals, and- let’s keep in mind- he usually starts the game guarding the opposing team’s best player.  Anyway who draws that job day in, day out can look foolish at times.

That’s it for now.  Happy Tuesday.

  • dranen645

    i agree with you completely about ray’s defense, we all know he is not elite but he does stick to the team defense, and the suggestion that we trade him or trade our pu pu platter of players for another defensive orientated guard/forward and have ray come off the bench is rediculous

  • Brendan Jackson

    Yeah, I think Zach brought this up in a post or discussion a few weeks ago. You really couldn’t trade Ray even if you wanted to right now because the value you’d get back for him wouldn’t be equal. Or even close. The only type of team that would want him are contenders or teams that would sell their entire team for a shot at the free agent class next year. And the teams willing to trade their top (or at least top paid) talent, usually have overpaid talent. Oh, and not to mention that Ray is extremely valuable to the Celtics. If he hadn’t had a good game this year, I’d be worried, but he’s had some real gems.

  • George

    Ray is a fantastic defensive guard. However, he’s on a team with such great defenders, that he just might be the worst defender in the starting lineup (on average). Matter of perspective, and all that. I’ll take him over almost any 2-guard in the east for defense though.

  • Brendan Jackson

    @ George
    I do like Ray as a defender, but I think implying that he is best two-guard defender in the east is a bit hyperbolic. He can’t defend the post because he’s build is just too slight. Still, I don’t want to knock him for that, I mean, he’s slight for a reason. He’s quick and can run.

  • Joel W

    So far, though this has been Ray’s weakest shooting with the Celtics, his +/- on 82games.com is the highest it’s been with the team. I don’t know how much that means given the noise in that data, but it’s certainly suggestive that doc knows what he’s talking about.

  • Jason

    Look, I love Ray and he’s just too damn awesome a shooter to be finished at this point. It’s a slump and he’ll get out of it. It happens with baseball hitters and then they figure their swing out and are back to normal. House is having this problem, too. You don’t just forget how to shoot like those two do. Yes, it’s been immensely frustrating watching their slumps, especially happening simultaneously, but I have no fear they will return to their normal levels.

    As for Ray’s D, I’m all for praising the willingness and effort and on some night’s he does a good job. However, let’s be real, he’s nothing special. Anybody remember the Hawks game? This still pisses me off because I firmly believe it lost the C’s the game. The difference between Ray guarding Joe Johnson and Pierce (and Daniels for that matter) was night and day. It was fiery sun and black hole. It was ridiculous not to mention obvious. Yet, there was Ray playing all those minutes as JJ’s revolving door. Sometimes D is more important than offense. Daniels (or Pierce) shutting down Johnson was more important than Ray’s spacing (because he certainly wasn’t hitting) and would have changed the game. Maybe Doc did this because it’s early and he can test these things, but if this happens in a game that counts, in the playoffs, believe me there will be shattered items throughout my house. If they face the Hawks and Johnson needs shutting down, Ray can’t be in. If they face the Heat and Wade needs to be limited, Ray can’t be in. Preventing a star like that from dominating would be much more important than the offensive drop off (if there is one) from Ray to Daniels. All I can hope is that at this point it’s all just a mix and match feel-out process for Doc.

    Ray’s still valuable and his shot will return (it’s already started to improve actually), but some nights his D is still a liability and I don’t see how anyone could argue otherwise. When it counts, let’s hope protecting egos doesn’t outweigh giving the best chance to win in Doc’s decision-making tree.

  • dont_drink_the_koolaid

    I’ve probably bagged on Ray too hard recently….to clarify….

    Ray is a decent defender against decent 2s, but a total non-factor against top 2s. Which is an important distinction as its title or bust this year, so its totally irrelevant how he matches up with harden or derozan or whoever. All that matters is can he limit the damage of mo williams/delonte west? (yes), vince carter? (no), joe johnson/jamal crawford (no?), kobe bryant (no). Not saying anyone can shut these guys down but you have to make them sweat a little. Its not a lack of effort by ray, he just isn’t 26 anymore.
    Offense: No worries. Slump or no slump. He will never lose his spot-up J. If he creates a little of his own as well, its gravy.

    I still say try Ray as the 6th man. Same minutes he’s playing now, but first man off the bench and load his minutes towards the end of games. The previous celticshub post laid out the numbers clearly of how much more efficient he makes the 2nd unit. Its not a demotion at all, its about maximizing the roster. And I’d love to see more of a 2-stopper in the starting line-up because they have more than enough scoring with the other 4 guys.

    I’m not a RayRay hater…..as i’m not a JR Smith or Manu Ginoblli or Jason Terry or Leandro Barbosa or Jamal Crawford hater. Ray is critical to this team (and he also plays equal or better defence than all those guys).

  • dont_drink_the_koolaid

    @jason: +1

    just saw your post. agree and echoed. i thought marquis was going to be that stopper….still an open question though. he just seems to be lacking that edge and comfort level…and no one on the team gets ripped off by the refs more than him….so many ticky-tacky calls (perception is reality)

  • Cas

    Ray is always good when he plays against Kobe

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