Why the Warriors Shouldn’t Want Ray Allen


Here’s why the Golden State Warriors shouldn’t want Ray Allen.

According to Chris Broussard, career sharpshooter Ray Allen may be considering an NBA comeback, with the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors at the top of his list (surprise, surprise).

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He’d likely come back for the veteran minimum, which would be just short of $2 million in his case. He’s one of the best shooters ever, made the second most important three-pointer of all time, and a respected league veteran who’s willing to play cheap for a ring. But, should the Warriors want him?

In short, no, they shouldn’t.

The first and easiest thing to point to is his age and rust. Allen hasn’t played an NBA minute since the 2013-14 season with the Miami Heat, and he turns 41 in about two weeks. How about we just say that if you could theoretically have a kid that played over a year in college and enter the draft, you might be too old?

His game aged well because of his shooting, but at some point it has to be acknowledged that that’s a lot of miles on the body.

Not to mention he might not be in shape, and he’s sure to be rusty. An athletic decline could compromise his lift on shots (and therefore his effectiveness), and it’ll definitely detract from whatever defense he could try to play.

When the Warriors are already looking at a thinned out bench unit because of Kevin Durant, losing wing defense isn’t going to help them.

Can you imagine the fun that Kyrie Irving and LeBron James would have attacking an Allen pick and roll switch? Not pretty.

The other, bigger, point here is that Allen is a one-dimensional player who would be joining a bench unit that has too many of them already.

Even in his last season with the Heat, he was a league-average player by Win Shares per 48 (.101, league ave. .100).

He was solid situationally, but that had a lot to do with how they used him. He was pretty much just a spot-up shooter, with a staggering 96% of his three-point attempts coming assisted.

He also logged one of his least efficient seasons from distance, shooting 37.5% (lower than Draymond Green last season, who shot 38.8%). In the right situations and lineups, that’s fine.

He’d see decent open looks rolling with some of Golden State’s starters, but that gives up a huge chunk of defense, since Stephen Curry isn’t a great defender, and is the best shot-creator on the team.

Playing in bench units, Allen would see lots of minutes with guys like David West and Shaun Livingston.

That looks fine at first glance, until you remember that both of those guys make their living now in the midrange.

That’s two guys who don’t really bear a lot of defensive attention in an entire zone of the floor. When you don’t have to defend Livingston from 16+, and the bench bigs are too young to make an impact or too old to push to the rim, it detracts a lot of the spacing that Allen makes his living on.

You might ask, what about how Miami used him? There’s a common thread in all of his best lineups there.

Nearly every one of Miami’s best lineups by +/- featuring Allen featured one of the Big 3, all guys with range who could create their own shot and generate gravity on the defense.

The Warriors have 3-4 guys like that, depending on Green’s shot that night. Playing him with Curry leaves two exploitable points on defense.

Klay Thompson is worlds ahead of the guy he was two years ago, but his passing ability is still decent at best, and his threat area is too similar to Allen’s.

Lineups with Durant could work pretty well, particularly with him at the power forward spot.

Still, that means that Allen is virtually unplayable with three of the Warriors’ best playmakers because he overlaps with their gravity zone, breaks the defense, or they can’t shoot well enough to free him up.

The Warriors would be way better off getting a cheap guy who can move better in space, even if they take a bit of a hit in shooting by passing up Allen (though I’d still argue that dimension isn’t all that great anymore).

Golden State needs big men. They need bench spacing.

They still need rebounding. Allen is not the answer. Some might have been saying it for years already, but this time, the Warriors really don’t need another shooter.