…under the radar.
Celtics fans are used to seeing Tony Allen soar through the air only throw down a thunderous dunk or snatch a rebound away from an opposing team’s big. Just look at the tape of the last two games and you will see what I am talking about- or just ask Antawn Jamison.
This, however, is just one way Tony Allen is flying these days. He is also flying under the radar when it comes to the impending Free Agency chatter. On May 14th, Chard Ford updated his running list of notable Free Agents (ESPN Insider only) and there was only one notable “Allen” listed. This is, of course, TA’s back-court mate Ray Allen and Ray is rightfully listed in the in the top ten overall (he’s listed one spot behind Shaquille O’Neal which is mind-blowing but that will be a conversation for another day).
This is one of those situations where I wish writers would interview players on other’s value in the league. I would bet the farm Dwyane Wade and LeBron James (and hopefully soon, Jameer Nelson- but that is yet another conversation for another day) would have more than a few things to say about Tony Allen’s value on the basketball court.
Last year, some team’s put a premium on limited offensive players that are stellar defensively. Aaron Afflalo and Thabo Sefolosha were both year-long starters for the Nuggets and Thunder respectively, while Dahntay Jones got a pretty nice contract from the Pacers.
According to John Hollinger’s dark magic (Insider only), Tony Allen has the 7th best statistical value of all playoff shooting guards- curiously, one spot ahead of Ray Allen. He is also 9th on the list of all shooting guards in Value Added and is also the first non-starting shooting guard on the list ahead of guys like Kirk Hinrich, Jamal Crawford, and J.R. Smith. That is to be expected though, since those guys are all golfing while TA is resting his knees up for Game 2.
These few stats are also merely just the quantifiable contributions TA is responsible for during these playoffs. They do not take into account all of the times he has run up the side of the court as Rondo pushes the ball, forcing the defense to stay true or pay the price. Or the amount of times TA forces the other team’s superstar to give up the ball rather than expend all that energy trying to get by him.
Saying any of this is not meant to lobby for a starting position or to be mentioned with the heavy hitters hitting free agency this offseason. I am just trying to give credit where credit is due. Tony Allen has been an indispensable part of the Celtics postseason roster and it will most likely be reflected in his Free Agent value.
It would behoove the Celtics to exercise their Early Bird Rights on TA for a team like the Pacers snaps him up.