Allen's value with Heat marginal

Updated: July 7, 2012, 3:12 PM ET
By John Cregan | Special to ESPN.com

Ray Allen leaving the Boston Celtics for the Miami Heat is at, best, a medium-sized move in real-life NBA terms. It carries more emotional and symbolic weight than statistical heft.

In fantasy terms, Allen -- albeit an Allen dealing with bone spurs in his right ankle -- was only the 20th-ranked shooting guard on the Player Rater this past season.

[+] EnlargeRay Allen
Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE/Getty ImagesRay Allen still has some value in 3-pointers, but how much playing time will he actually get with the Heat?

His name value obscures the fact that we're talking about a soon-to-be 37-year-old who averaged 14.1 points per game and offers truly elite production in only one category, 3-pointers. (Allen's percentages, while sky-high, are mitigated somewhat by his relatively small volume of attempts from the field and the line.)

Yes, Allen will give you about a steal per game and will help solidify your fantasy team's percentages. But at his autumnal career stage, Allen is all about 3-pointers and the corresponding points per game.

But we are still talking about the greatest 3-point shooter in the history of the NBA going to the team that can allow him to operate with the maximum amount of floor space. That combination alone offers some intriguing fantasy possibilities.

If the Heat deploy the same lineup we saw over the last two games of the Finals -- with Chris Bosh at center and LeBron James at power forward -- things could open up quite decisively for Allen. All we have to do is flash back to Game 5, when Mike Miller and Shane Battier shot a combined 10-for-15 from downtown. Give Ray Allen, say 25-28 minutes per game in that small-ball configuration, and you could see him ringing up to three 3-pointers per game.

The problem is that it's hard to envision Miami doing that on a full-time basis during the regular season. Or Allen even becoming a regular starter. I'm sure the Heat will play small ball at times (and much, much more in the playoffs), but Allen will most likely be a sixth man for the Heat.

But even in a 25-28 mpg role, Allen will still be an elite 3-point producer. He won't be Mike Miller 2.0. Miller shied away from shooting the ball (odd, given it's his greatest strength) in recent seasons. Allen will see the court, see minutes, and still average 9-10 field goal attempts per game, with 5-6 of those attempts coming from 3-point territory. And he will still hit 45 percent of his 3s.

He just won't do much else.

So for now, let's pencil Allen in for 12 points and 2.5 3-pointers a game. That would make him about the 20th-best shooting guard in fantasy, and a late-round/endgame pick.

So divorcing the obvious emotional impact of Ray Allen defecting to the "other side," we can boil down Allen to South Beach to one question: Where will Allen's minutes come from?

Let's assume Mike Miller either retires or returns in a further diminished role. Shane Battier's return is also in question, as the Heat could reshuffle their veteran deck, perhaps in the hopes of additional help down low (Marcus Camby?).

Allen's other minutes will primarily come at the expense of the existing wing players in Miami's rotation. That could mean a small dip in playing time for Dwyane Wade and LeBron, and perhaps even Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole.

The impact on LeBron's numbers should be negligible, especially his rebounding and assist numbers. It might cost him a couple of shots per game at most. But it's probably safe to assume a 5-10 percent drop in Wade's overall production. Which would knock him down into 30 mpg and 20 ppg territory.

[+] EnlargeJason Terry
Jerome Miron/US PresswireJason Terry won't necessarily be taking Ray Allen's place in the Celtics' starting lineup, but he could be the more valuable fantasy player next season.

Up north in Boston, the question will be how Avery Bradley will blend in with the likely arrival of Jason Terry. Subbing for an injured Allen, Bradley was a fantasy impact player down the stretch, offering a solid (Allen-like) 15.1 points, 1.2 3s and 1.2 steals on 52 percent shooting. Bradley should start in 2012-13, and it's safe to assume he should duplicate that production over the course of an entire campaign (provided his shoulder doesn't remain an issue).

I'd project Bradley into Aaron Afflalo territory, with slightly fewer 3s and more steals. Which would put Bradley slightly ahead of Ray Allen on my draft board, and a solid sleeper in the later rounds. Both Bradley's and Allen's values are enhanced due to the overall lack of elite talent at shooting guard.

And don't worry about where Terry's production will come from; he's used to finding his numbers from the confines of a bench role. He'll come off the bench as a sixth man, spelling Bradley and Rajon Rondo, and continue to be one of the more underrated guards in fantasy (Terry was still the eighth-best shooting guard on the Player Rater in 2011-12.)

In the end, I'd still rather have Terry over Bradley or Allen due to his ability to generate assists from the shooting guard slot.

John Cregan

Fantasy Basketball
John Cregan is a fantasy basketball analyst for ESPN.com.

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