AP Photo/J Pat Carter
Ray Allen did most of his damage much further away from the rim this season.Over the next few weeks, we'll take a player-by-player look at the Celtics' 2010-11 roster and how each player's season unfolded, assigning a grade for their overall performance. This is the 11th in the series of report cards:
Player: Ray Allen
2010-11 averages: 16.5 points, 3.4 rebounds, 2.7 assists
2010-11 salary: $10 million
Season in a paragraph: In a 14-year career highlighted by his shooting exploits, all the 35-year-old Allen did this season was shoot career bests of 49.1 percent from the floor and 44.4 percent beyond the arc. Along the way, he shattered Reggie Miller's all-time record for 3-pointers made. Ho-hum, just another year at the office for maybe the best perimeter shooter the game's seen. About the only real negative for Allen: He shot "just" 88.1 percent at the charity stripe (this after shooting 90 percent or better in seven of his last eight seasons).
Season highlight: The obvious answer here is Feb. 10, where Allen buried a pair of first-quarter 3-pointers against the rival Lakers to leapfrog Miller in the NBA record books. But Boston lost that night and that certainly tempered the moment a little bit. From a pure game standpoint, Game 3 vs. the Knicks in which Allen connected on 8-of-11 trifectas (and 11-of-18 shots overall) while pouring in a playoff-high 31 points was tough to beat considering the stage.
Season lowlight: Allen went through a couple maddening stretches where the Celtics did a terrible job at getting him shots, particularly when their pick-setting broke down late in the year. In lieu of any real terrible performances, it's likely Allen will simply lament his shooting in the Eastern Conference semifinal series against the Heat. In Games 2-5, Allen connected on just 17-of-42 shots overall (41 percent), including a mere 7 of 20 (35 percent) inside the 3-point arc while averaging 14.3 points per game (not awful, but not what Allen would strive for in a key postseason series).
Final grade: A-
Teacher's notes: Was Ray Allen the Celtics' MVP? Of course not. But his high grade is a reflection of a player that performed his role almost to perfection. Again, just think about what Allen did in his 14th year in the league, posting career highs in field goal percentage both overall and beyond the arc. NBA players shouldn't be peaking at age 35 (and don't try the argument that he did it because his attempts are dwindling; it's almost more impressive for a shooter to do what he did with less volume). Here's one key stat that drives home his impact: When Allen scored 20 points or more during the regular season, Boston was 18-4 overall. Or how about this: When Allen connected on four 3-pointers or more, the Celtics were 10-0 during the regular season (for what it's worth, Allen was 46 of 67 from beyond the arc in those 10 games, a ridiculous 68.7 percent).
What's next?: Allen owns a player option for next season at $10 million, but suggested after Boston's season ended that he had no plans to go elsewhere. Considering the numbers he puts up -- and the consistency with which he does it -- that's a steal for Boston (who had paid him $18.8 million for the 2009-10 campaign). Allen will turn 36 this offseason and, like each of the past few seasons, we'll wait for Father Time to catch up with him. Instead, Allen just keeps doing sprints past him. That said, Boston does have to bring down Allen's minutes. His 36:06 per game this year was higher than his average during the first year of the Big Three era (35:53 during Boston's title season). Even with a slight rollback in minutes, it's hard to imagine a downturn in production. Allen might be shooting 3's straight into his 40's if he desires.
Honor roll: Click HERE to read past report cards.
Don't agree with teacher? Just want to sound off on Allen's 2010-11 season? Leave your thoughts in the comments section.