We argue. You decide.
RAY ALLEN (by Ben York)
“I want to take Ray Allen’s jump shot out for dinner to the best restaurant every night. I want to marry it and raise a family with it. It’s so f’ing pretty. It’s a g**damn thing of beauty.”
Couldn’t say it any better than that.
To be fair, as we all know, there are dozens of other assets to being a great NBA player besides a pretty jump shot. But, holy hell is that thing pretty; and it’s been consistently gorgeous for 14 years in the league.
Though we aren’t talking about who has the better career (since that isn’t even debatable, although Redd could make a strong case over the next 5 years), we’re analyzing these players now.
Michael Redd is a sick player and I have absolutely nothing against him in this match-up. I just think Ray is still the better overall player right now (though I may be singing a different tune come mid-season).
It’s awe-inspiring to look at how similar their stats have been over their careers; Allen has an extremely slight edge on the majority of statistical categories (points, rebounds, FT%, 3PT%, steals) and over a longer period of time (5 years). However, the reasons I’d still choose Allen over Redd aren’t solely based by quantifiable stats.
1. Clutch: No surprise here — there are few people I’d want taking a last-second shot than Ray Allen. His playoff performances last season demonstrated that he’s just as deadly as he once was, in spite of a much different role than he’s been accustomed to.
2. Defense: He did a fantastic job “containing” Kobe in the 2008 NBA Finals, helping the Celtics jump out to an early series lead, and his ‘D’ hasn’t changed much since then. I feel much more comfortable with Allen’s defense and putting him on the opposing team’s top scorer, than I do with Redd.
3. Multiple ways of changing a game: He can still take over a game on the offensive end of the floor as the go-to guy, but he can also come in and play a lesser role that forces the defense to constantly be on the look-out, even if he’s having a terrible shooting night. This isn’t to say that Redd doesn’t do the same thing, but Allen is the guy I’d rather have in a plethora of game situations.
If I’m honest, you really can’t go wrong with either guy. I’d give the slight edge to Allen for being a better ball-handler, creating more options for his teammates, and having a better cumulative awareness for the game.
MICHAEL REDD (by Austin Burton)
Quiz the most ill-prepared NBA coach or the most novice defender, and he at least knows this much: If you leave Ray Allen or Michael Redd open on the perimeter, they’ll leave you looking like Johnny Depp in the last 25 minutes of Once Upon a Time in Mexico.
What separates one sniper from the other, though, is that long-range bombs are the only consistently effective weapons left in Ray’s arsenal, while Redd still roams every part of the court to inflict damage.
At 34, Ray is almost exclusively a shooter. Forty-six percent of his field goal attempts last season were threes, putting him on par with Mike Bibby (42%), Kyle Korver (47%), Quentin Richardson (49%) and other guys who stopped attacking the rim around the same time they stopped wearing t-shirts under their jersey. Meanwhile, only 34 percent of Redd’s shots last season were threes. And in his previous full season (injuries limited Redd to 33 games last year), just 28 percent of his attempts were threes. And still, Redd is a consistent 20-ppg scorer, while Ray has settled into the 17/18-ppg phase of his Hall of Fame career.
Redd is now what Ray used to be – a complete scorer who specializes in shooting the deep ball. Take away the three, and he can still generate buckets and dominate a game. Although listed at 6-6, 215 pounds, Redd appears heavier (i.e. stronger), helping him get inside and absorb contact. And while he doesn’t quite match Ray at the free throw line, his 84 percent career FT clip ain’t exactly Shaq-like. When Redd dropped 30 on Chicago on last season’s Opening Night, here’s how I described it in Smack:
“If we had to use one word to describe Michael Redd last night, it would be sharp. On one of Milwaukee’s first possessions, Redd went back-to-the-basket on Thabo Sefolosha and broke out a string of fakes and jabs that gave Thabo the runs before sticking a turnaround J in his face (or where Thabo’s face would be if he hadn’t gotten shook out of his socks). Whether it was handling the ball, cutting to the basket, unleashing that beautiful jumper or running around screens, Redd looked sharp in everything he did. After a mix of mid-range J’s and trips to the free throw line in the first half, Redd came out for the second half and immediately wetted three straight triples.”
Whether Redd can maintain that versatility that currently gives him the edge over Ray is the question. If the knee injury that grounded him in ’09 persists, Redd’s game could more closely resemble Ray and his suspect ankles. If he’s at full strength, though, Redd will further widen the gap over the next couple years while he’s still in his prime. (His hairline might say otherwise, but Redd turns just 30 next week.)
In the final minute of a game, sure, I’ll take Ray. For the first 47, though, I’ll take Redd.
Who do you think is better?
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