In what is becoming an annual series now for SLAM Magazine, they have begun to release their "Top 50" list of NBA players. Today starts off with Boston Celtic Ray Allen. Here's Lang Whitaker's take on Ray:
It’s not that surprising Ray Allen cracked the 50. He was on my original list of names that I complied, but I had to drop him to make room for Pape Sy. (That’s a joke.) Actually, he was the last person I cut from my list. Ray finished 36th last year on our list, and our voters seem to be expecting Ray’s skills to continue to wither with age. After all, last year his points per game dropped for the fourth consecutive season down to 16.3, the lowest since his rookie year. Sure, that’s partly a function of his age — he’s totaled almost 38,000 minutes over 15 seasons and is entering his 15th season. But it’s also a sign of his willingness to step back and allow his teammates to shine — his 12.2 FGA per game was his lowest number in that category also since his rookie season.
Despite his age, Allen’s still remarkably durable, missing only 12 games over the last three seasons. Most importantly, Allen’s specialty is shooting, and shooting touch doesn’t necessarily fade with age. He might be a little slower fighting through picks or making defensive rotations, but give him space to launch and he’s probably going to knock it down. Don’t forget, just three months ago the man put 27 points on the Lakers in the first half of Game 2 of the NBA Finals.
I think Lang is dead on with his assessment here, although it's difficult to say if he's unfairly ranked just yet since we would need to see who is ranked 1-49, and which two-guards are ahead of him. Either way, the key thing to realize with just about every member of the Celtics is that they are the epitome of a TEAM. They have a collection of players who, individually could put up better statistics. But they all only care about winning the championship, so the individual stats get sacrificed.
This is why in a lot of instances with rating/grading/ranking/evaluating the Celtic players based on their individual numbers is not ideal, if not misleading (I'm looking at you and your PER stat, Hollinger). With that being said, it's a testament to Ray Allen's unrivaled training and work ethic that he is still a very good player at his age, especially at his position.