We are spending some time looking back over the Boston Celtics championship season… in an effort to truly appreciate the efforts of those involved. In our eleventh installment of the series, we continue saluting our starters.
That’s the first thing that comes to mind when I think of Ray Allen this year.
No one gave up more of his game to be part of this team.
Ray, more than anyone, had to “buy into the team concept”… which is really code for “not consider himself the number 1 offensive option.” He’s the one that had to make the biggest adjustments. Kevin Garnett’s game really didn’t change… and Paul Pierce, being the guy who’s been here, was the one the new guys would defer to early on.
So it was up to Ray to do some things he’s not used to doing. And not only that, he had to do it with new teammates, in a new city. That’s not easy.
But Ray Allen proved himself to be the ultimate professional.
Not only that, he proved to us that he was still a deadly assassin from beyond the arc. After the opening night blowout, Ray spent November killing Toronto and Charlotte at the buzzer…. and generally torching the rest of the league. Yes, he went through some slumps, but as we’ve heard many times recently… it’s just the threat of Ray Allen that is enough to spread the floor.
But appreciating Ray Allen isn’t so much appreciating what he’s done on the floor. His impact is felt off the floor… and through other players.
Rajon Rondo is the prime example. He looked at how Ray carries himself and decided to follow suit. Now Rajon comes to the gym 3 hours early on game day, just like Ray. Rajon has figured out how important a consistent routine is to consistent play. When Rajon is in the “best point guard in the league” discussion a few years from now… it will be Ray Allen’s influence that helped him down that path.
Ray is meticulous (aka: he’s probably got OCD), so its especially impressive that the dealt with the change here so well. When he was asked to run point instead of running off a million picks… he did it. When he sat the whole 4th quarter of the semifinals closeout game in Detroit… he didn’t complain. And when a lot of us were asking the question “is Ray Allen done?”… he wasn’t worried. He just kept doing what he did, and then set a record for most 3 pointers in the Finals. And whether he was struggling or not… he still played within the team… and he will played defense (which few people really thought he could do).
Ray Allen gave up more than anyone to become a member of this team. And through it all, he carried himself exactly how a professional should. And for that, Ray, we appreciate the job you’ve done in helping us achieve the ultimate goal… an NBA title.
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