Do the Cavs Need Ray Allen?

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Throughout the offseason there have been rumors that Ray Allen is going to be the newest player to follow LeBron to Cleveland. Adding Ray Allen to the fold with Waiters, Irving, Miller, and Love would make the Cavaliers one of the most proficient three point shooting teams in the NBA. But do the Cavs really need to add Allen?

No one is denying that Ray Allen is one of the greatest pure shooters of all time. In addition, he seems to fit in perfectly with David Blatt’s offensive system. LeBron has always thrived on having spot up 3 point shooters on the court. But would there be too many shooters on the floor for the Cavs if they added Allen?

Two of the biggest questions heading into the Cavs season are will the Cavs have enough touches to spread around in an offense with three superstars, and will the Cavs be able to play solid perimeter defense? Adding Ray Allen does not help the Cavs in either of those areas. The Cavs are not in need of more three point shooters, they already have arguably the best three point shooting team in the league. Their biggest problem is on the defensive side of the court. Dion Waiters, Mike Miller, and Ray Allen are all ranked in the bottom third of the league last year in defense.
If you’re one of those Cavs fans that is imagining LeBron out there with Allen and Miller, here are some things to consider. Allen and Miller were not efficient on the court together when they were in Miami. Allen and Miller were a minus 7.9 points per 100 possessions when they were on the floor together. Surprisingly, opponents averaged a better three point percentage when Allen and Miller were on the floor together. Having them on the floor does not seem to be a viable option.

Adding Allen would take away minutes from Miller. Presumably both would fill similar roles. So let’s compare Miller’s and Allen’s stats. Miller and Allen have put up nearly identical numbers playing with LeBron. Both average 1 more three made per 100 possessions, and the team is 9 points better than their opponent when they are on the floor. They both fare well on the defensive end of the floor when they are playing with LeBron with an average of +3 in the turnover margin. With Cleveland’s speed and athleticism in the back court, it is safe to assume similar numbers.
Miller had a better three point percentage than Allen last year. Miller shot .459% compared to Allen’s .375% from behind the arc. Miller also did this on a Memphis team that did not have the same offensive firepower as Miami or this Cavalier team. Miller was also more durable than Allen last season and played in all 82 games.

Adding Allen would be a nice piece, but it would not put the Cavs over the edge. Allen would take minutes away from Waiters and Miller. Miller can provide equivalent numbers to Allen this year. Miller and Allen cannot play together so it is like having two of the same player. Still, it is hard to argue against putting the best three point shooter in NBA history on a team with LeBron.

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