This is the 6th in a series of profiles for all 16 players on the current Celtics roster. We’ll profile at least one player each day leading up to the season opener.
Ray Allen drives by Jordan Farmar of the Lakers during Game 6 of the 2008 NBA Finals. (Stan Grossfeld/Globe Staff)
Born: July 20, 1975
Height: 6 feet 5 inches … Weight: 205
Years pro: 12
Acquired: Drafted No.5 by Minnesota in 1996
2008/2009 salary: $17.4 million
Signed through: 2009-2010
Last year’s numbers: 17.4 ppg, 3.1 apg, 3.7 rpg in 36 minutes
Strengths: Allen is a professional scorer who has averaged over 21 points per game for his NBA career. His jump shot is as smooth as one could possibly dream up (he made almost 40 percent of his three-pointers last season), and he can score on anybody in the league. Allen is a consummate professional, leading his younger teammates by example. He is often the first to arrive at the arena, and he takes great care of his body. Not many players work harder than Allen, and the results show.
Weaknesses: Allen went through several prolonged shooting slumps last season, including a dismal stretch during which he shot 33 percent from the field against Cleveland during the conference semifinals. Allen’s defense on Kobe Bryant in last year’s NBA Finals was a pleasant surprise, but he’s no longer capable of being a lockdown defender for an entire season.
What to expect: As the least lauded of the Big Three, I’m not sure if Allen got quite the credit he deserved last season. Even when he’s not making shots, opponents are reluctant to leave him open for even a second. It’s an unbelievabe asset for the Celtics to have. Without Paul Pierce’s heroics, Allen would have been the frontrunner for Finals MVP (he had 7 threes in the clinching game). And with his son’s diabetes under control, the newly betrothed shooting guard has his personal life in order as well. Look for similar, if not better numbers from Allen this year.
Check back tomorrow for another player profile, and give us your expectations for Allen in our comments section.