The Boston Alchemist

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It's easy to see the value of Ray Allen when he breaks a record for three pointers made in a single finals game, and ties in it the first half.  A true professional seemingly since the time he left UConn for the NBA, Jesus Shuttlesworth has earned his own place among the stars.  He is an unrestriced free agent this summer.  Will he be tempted to follow his assistant coach west, and put on the red, black, and white.  Let's hope so.  A top priority for the front office this summer ought to be signing Allen away from the Celtics, or adding a SG that emulates his game as closely as possible.

What makes Allen such a key part of the Boston offense?  A quick answer is his shooting ability, spaces the floor, which is true, but it is much more than that.  According to 82games.com, his net plus minus was +12 over the regular season; Boston was an elite team (+7.1) when he was on the floor, and terrible (-4.9 points) when he was not.

More than just his shooting stroke, Ray Allen is a consummate "Tag, You're It!" shooting guard; always in motion, utilizing screens, forcing his cover to chase him tirelessly down the baseline, across the arc, down to the key and back again.  This off ball motion is critical to Boston's offensive system, which relies on Rondo and Pierce to make plays for others.  When Allen leaves the floor, it is easy for players to stand around and watch, for the ball to get sticky, and stay on one side.  Ray Allen is effectively a third playmaker for the Celtics, making plays for himself and his teammates by his constant motion without the ball.

It's why I wince when I hear people say that all Derrick Rose needs is a shooting guard that can spot up and hit open threes.  Especially if the improbable does happen, and the Bulls do end up winning the LeBron sweepstakes this summer, a "Tag, You're It!" shooting guard is a must-have to ensure the offense is more than Derrick and LeBron taking turns running pick and rolls.

I'm not sure there is a true "Tag, You're It!" SG in this draft.  I want James Anderson to be, but I haven't seen enough of his game to be sure, and his combine results (and slow agility drills) make me wonder whether he is quick enough to excel in that role.  Paul George is too big (though he'd be great as a 2/3 defender and shooter/slasher).  Ditto Xavier Henry.   Jordan Crawford has the right body type, good quicks and a shooter's swag, but didn't show a lot of off the ball aptitude at Xavier, and would have to completely rewire his game.  All in all, the draft leaves me cold.

In free agency, there is obviously Ray Allen, the paragon himself, and there is also J.J. Reddick, who plays the same way, but doesn't have Ray's ability to finish around the rim.  Both would be great additions, but Ray will probably retire in Boston and J.J. is restricted.  Morrow can shoot, but hasn't been asked to play tag in Golden State, and I'm not sure he can.

The last option would be to trade for an established player.  Richard Hamilton is a name that leaves a bad taste in my mouth but comes to mind immediately.  He doesn't shoot as many threes as you like, but he does play tag without the ball.  Could you trade Kirk Hinrich for Hamilton and receive a sweetner like Jonas Jerebko for the contract difference (Kirk has one less year, and much less money, on his deal)?  Could Rudy Fernandez become that type of player?  No sure bets here; if I'm missing somebody, let me know in the comments.

If I had to rank by personal preference, I would probably go:

1. Ray Allen

2. JJ Reddick
3. Rip Hamilton
4. James Anderson
5. Rudy Fernandez
6. Jordan Crawford

So how about it?  What kind of SG would you like to see suit up next to Rose next year?

Comments

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  • I like the read.

    I also had similiar thought on the summer. Especially if we get Boozer or another big and miss out on Lebron.

    Maybe add Mike Miller to your list. He can play some SG. Maybe even Korver who has spot up written on him all day. Not many of them but Im sure we can easily find one to fit somewhere.

    I bet there is a diamond in D-League

  • I dont think Ray ever leaves Boston. They have too much of a good thing.

    I would add:
    Mike Miller
    Kyle Korver
    Joe Johnson(If we get him for real bargain)

    And Even in the D-League, Morris Almond has a great stroke with hieght and size. I think we should bring him in for a looksy.

  • In reply to 1096ballenf:

    Thanks for the kind words. I doubt Ray leaves too, but if we were to get lebron, and free up enough money to offer Ray a deal above the MLE, I think you at least see if he would bite. I think Thibs would be a selling point too, in theory, from what I've read Allen and Mr. T. are both detail oriented to the point of obsession and could be kindred spirits.

    Also, if you make a run and Allen and fail, Reddick should be there as a possible backup plan. RFAs tend to take longer, and Orlando might be willing to deal as well.

  • In reply to BenjaminBalskus:

    Thing about Lebron, IMO, if we get him, we can do Reddik as our shooter. We need a Ray thats proven and whose shot is almost always on. JJ is good but his D isnt up to par, his decision making isnt that great and he doesnt get to the rim as you said. He is a great shooter but in other areas, im not sure he is what we would target. Especially being restricted, it will be even harder.

  • In reply to BenjaminBalskus:

    Good Article. I think there a few reasons players don't run around:
    1. It is very difficult to run around without the ball and position yourself...you probably need to have a good basketball IQ and have a quick release like Ray Allen, Reggie Miller, Rip Hamilton..
    2. You need a good point guard and a couple of good ball handlers who are in sync with the run-around guy. Basically, they need especially with a good defensive team. Against Golden State, you probably don't need to run around so much anyways...
    3. Most players who can shoot as well are also sometimes more talented than Ray...Kobe, LeBron, Pierce, Brandon Roy etc.. in other facets of the game. They don't have the energy for this also...

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    Yup. You have to have a team where players know/trust each other to know if they give the ball up, it's coming back. Maybe not that play, but sometime else, share and share alike.

    I think it also helps to be quick. Loul Deng's not bad off of the ball, but with his size, and long strides, he can't work picks and misdirection the way the shooting guards do.

    3. is defintely in play too. Most of the talented bball guys work on the ball because playmaking is in such demand. That makes playmaking off the ball that much rarer, and coveted a commodity, and you see it in a team like Boston, where the overall talent level is so high that Allen can be taken off the ball. A Rose/Lebron team would have that talent base for sure.

  • In reply to BenjaminBalskus:

    I'd love to add Bosh/Stoudemire/Boozer and then Ray Allen. That would be an excellent free agency. Also to draft Anderson or Henry. Somehow, I see the Bulls striking out, a la 2000.

  • In reply to BenjaminBalskus:

    If the Bulls upgrade at the power forward position(Bosh, Amare, Boozer or Lee), then I just want the Bulls to focus on outside shooters. The free agent power forward and Rose will be the first and second options, and Deng will fall into a third option x-factor role. I see the shooting guard position with the above being true as purely a complementary, floor spacing position.

    Ray Allen would be a good pickup as a free agent, but I think he

  • In reply to JimmyBulls:

    interesting perspective, one that I imagine TT will bring with him from Boston.

    I always suggested that this was the way that we should have forced Gordon to play when he was with the Bulls. If I had been the coach I would have had him do nothing but watch tape of Reggie Miller, Rip Hamilton and Ray Allen.

    My guess is that Gordon was not willing to become this type of player(ego, effort), if he had I might not have had to hate him(his game) so much, although he still would have been virtually useless in every aspect of the game.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Ben is such a good one on one scorer that it's hard for him to play that way, and with the Bulls teams he was a part of, their wasn't enough scoring talent around him not to be. In Boston, Allen was able to give up some of his game, yet gain it back in efficiency. We'll never know what Gordon could have been, had he stayed, but I doubt during his tenure he was ever presented with an ultimatum to try to reign his game in. Bulls needed all the O he could give, all the time.

  • In reply to BenjaminBalskus:

    You are right...I think Ben Gordon would have been a great player on the current Boston team playing the role of Ray Allen.

  • In reply to JimmyBulls:

    Or I wouldn't mind seeing the Bulls make a trade for KELENNA AZUBUIKE or RUDY FERNANDEZ.

    * Morrow or Azubuike could become expendable, if G.S. drafts XAVIER HENRY, as rumored.

  • In reply to BenjaminBalskus:

    Reggie Miller might take a mid level deal to play with LeBron lol

    But ya, theres not many of these players out there. But there are deff. a couple solid SG's options out there that would probably sign with us for a decent price.

    Matt Barnes - just opted out, tough, good shooter, plays defense
    Kyle Korver- spot up shooter
    Reddick- Solid player, good shooter...NO defense though
    Mike Miller- Solid player that can kind of do it all

    Plus you have the draft where you could find some solid options. Even Ruatins from Syracuse is a lethal 3 point threat...wont get much else out of him though. I dont necessarly think we deff. need a Ray Allen type...if we land LeBron, i think a guy that can just at least stretch the floor should be good enough. Good article though.

  • In reply to Csharp:

    To his credit, Reddick did a competent job against Allen in their series. Maybe because he's playing against the same type of player

  • In reply to Csharp:

    shall we rewrite the article now :)

  • In reply to chibullmarket:

    Ray totally left me hanging! I mean, hit one shot, at least, to save me some face! Somebody said nice things about you on the internet!!!

  • In reply to BenjaminBalskus:

    seriously!

    but in all seriousness, ray would be a perfect fit with the Bulls; great article.

  • In reply to BenjaminBalskus:

    Maybe, John Starks is still available.

  • In reply to Csharp:

    I like the heck out of Matt Barnes, but he seems to have some kind of attitude problem, and appears to be best in small doses. He would bring some well needed nastiness, but is he a good enough 3 point shooter. He is probably not a legitimate starter, but he thinks that he is, which is the problem with him.

  • In reply to BenjaminBalskus:

    Call me crazy (don't worry it's been done before), but I would...

    ...take ANTHONY MORROW (25yrs old) over RAY ALLEN (34yrs. old).

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    I... I... *sigh*
    I agree. He can shoot like crazy, which is the primary thing. If you can't shoot, it doesn't matter how well you move off the ball. On the other hand, once you can shoot, you should be able to learn to move. He might not have the instincts for knocking the defence off balance, but so long as the coaches do and he follows the offence, that's a good start. As he does it more, he'll get a better feel.

    And I think Rudy should be able to do it as well. Both are guys we should be able to get if we put our minds to it.

  • In reply to msalivar:

    Saw something yesterday that indicated Rudy signed(or will sign) with some Spanish team.

    I would consider my dream scenario for this summer, if the Bulls starting lineup in 2010 is

    Rose, Morrow, Lebron, Love(Kevin), Noah.

    This could be accomplished by trading Deng to Minny for Love. With the extra cap space we sign Morrow.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    I'd get behind that.

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    Haha, I wouldn't!

    But I would definitely be happy to have the choice, if that was the case. The Bulls definitely have a need for shooters, in all shapes and forms, and a baseline to basline shooting wing (if that is what Morrow is when he first joins the team) would still be a great addition to the squad.

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    Ya i havent heard that rumor about Golden St. But if they do take a guard...then Marrow might be expendable. It will be hard to land him since he is a restricted free agent. Plus he is young and cheap, so im not sure if Marrow will be available. We will have to see who they draft on draft night.

    Kelenna is solid but i think he just had a couple of bad knee surguries.

    Rudy Fernandez isnt bad

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    Oddly enough I agree with Happy on taking Morrow ahead of Allen. His youth factors in but also if we get Lebron or Bosh then a SG that is somewhat athletic and can shoot 3 consistently is all we need. Plus Morrow would come cheaper.

    Most SG don't have the skill-set of Ray Allen so he's unique. Unless he came at MLE I would pass b/c I think his play will drop in next two years.

  • In reply to mdot1986:

    Ray's so good, and takes care of his body so well, that I wouldn't be afraid of a drastic drop off. He may decline a bit overall percentages-wise, but the way he plays will remain the same. It's that off-the-ball movement and cunning that's so valuable next to Allen.

    As far as I can tell, the only bankable skill Morrow brings to the table is an ability to knock down open threes. Coming out of Golden State, we don't know if he can play defense, really use screens, or work off ball to generate looks for himself or others.

    Morrow being younger than Allen is nice, but doesn't matter to me if he is not a foundational piece, which he would not be. If I'm building a team to compete for a title over the next three years, I take Allen on a three year deal, and use the time that buys to find his successor for the next three years, rather than signing Morrow to a 5 or 6 year deal. If we get Lebron, Rose, Bron, and Noah are the untouchable core, and the rest of the crew is shorterm replacable/exchangable unless somebody rises through the ranks and proves themselves beyond a doubt.

    But this is all theoretical. The odds of Allen leaving Boston are pretty small at this point, and Morrow would be a welcome addition, based on his shooting alone.

  • In reply to BenjaminBalskus:

    What about Deng for Monta Ellis, bad contract for bad contract, just different positional needs.

    Rose, Ellis and Hinrich not a bad backcourt rotation as long as Lebron is on board.

  • In reply to mdot1986:

    I say we go after Courtney Lee. If he plays like he did during the Finals last year, then i would go after him. Im pretty sure we could swap James Johnson for him. My other picks would be(other than the ones already mentioned above) George Hill, Roger Mason, Nick Young, Randy Foye, J.J. Barea, and Toney Douglas...i think all of these guys are attainable...

  • In reply to mdot1986:

    Anthony Marrow is a restricted free agent though...so we would have to outbid Golden State to be able to land him. Something im not sure we can do. If we can thats great id love to have him...but i doubt GS lets go of him...they really like him.

  • In reply to Csharp:

    Or we can sign and trade.

  • In reply to Csharp:

    To me watching these playoffs the question becomes do you want pieces to win regular season games or playoff games? People talking draft picks pick up on the CW(conventional wisdom), stats, athletic ability and there's nothing wrong with that. But those things don't mean as much without presence, attitude, and competitive spirit. As much as anything I try to key on those qualities. Really so on presence. Some guys as they mature and get around other quality players(and coaches) more of their competitive nature can emerge.

    So factoring in that standout presence I look at guys like Dominique Jones, Ekpe Udoh, and Luke Babbitt. As for James Anderson do not see it. Xavier Henry I did not watch because he ironically did not meet my stat/exceptional criteria. I won't pick/draft guys I haven't watched play(a.k.a James Johnson - who still could become a decent player). But from his(Henry's) combine numbers at 36" max vert, 3.19 speed, and his wingspan and reach are crazy. Plus he has excellent character/presence reviews across the boards. So if the Bulls did draft him(and keep him) even though he doesn't handle the rock well at all he cans threes in volume and can flat out shoot again from the stats and reviews.

    To me, most guys who make it all the way to the Finals have that presence about them and highly competitive nature. It's not easy to get that, but if you watch these guys enough in games and interviews it does start to become apparent.

    Hamilton shot 29% on threes last season and his knees for defensive purposes appear to be shot. Still, if his salary wasn't Paxsonesque at $12.5 Mil for years to come maybe he'd be of interest. But it is what it is.

    As for SG's Jones, Elliot Williams, Henry, and Jordan Crawford would be on my short list. And if you can sign Ray Allen unless the numbers are crazy even at his age you still if you're wanting to contend now you sign him.

  • In reply to MarkNorman:

    im goin for joe johnson..

    and doing what ever it takes to get chris bosh...thats our plan... stick with it..johnson and rose are friends and johnsons agent is close with jerry.. so its easier to get joe to come and maybe take less so we can get bosh easier..

    3 20 point scorers.. two double doubles in the lineup
    (maybe 3 w|derrick)

    3-5 defense 1-3 in rebounding.. 3 or 4 allstars..

    d.rose for 2010 mvp..

  • In reply to Yunqn:

    plus theres no way joe gets the max..

    deng for joe johnson

    hinrich,2010 1st,bobcats 1st,asik,& james johnson,

    they move bargnani to the four and get a center and a wingman.. also we could three way the deal to get calderon or jack outta there to maybe memphis or sacramento

  • In reply to Yunqn:

    Per sources in the league, the Philadelphia 76ers, Minnesota Timberwolves, Golden State Warriors, Detroit Pistons, Indiana Pacers, Toronto Raptors, Chicago Bulls, San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder all have had discussions about moving up, down or out of the draft. ESPN.com

    Read more: http://hoopshype.com/rumors.htm#ixzz1TzJvndz9

    trade that pick for something useful.. (bosh deal)

  • In reply to Yunqn:

    Where is Anthony Morrow? Yes, he's can flat out shoot but there were games he had double digit rebounds (I should know, he was my fantasy player) and he is athletic enough to keep a body in front of his man.

    Rudy Fernandez is another desirable prospect, his down year notwithstanding. I hope Portland gives him away.

  • In reply to Yunqn:

    I don't see how we can afford Ray Allen after paying LeBron the max. He's worth more than 5 million a year on the open market, only way he comes is if he's willing to accept less than he's worth to play for the Bulls.

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    In reply to Yunqn:

    there are a couple free agents and established players who can put in that kind of work - of course not at the level of a ray allen or reggie miller though. Thanks for mentioning Anthony Morrow. He'd be a good addition. Looking at the draft, I think Dominique Jones might be the guy for the job. He's more the center of attention so he has to create off the dribble in college ball. But his release is amazingly quick and he can hit pretty much any shot on the floor. He'd thrive as the guy coming of screens and burying 3's that just rip the other team's heart out. He's definitely a gamer, both from his play and from the fact that he's not a bit shy around a microphone.

  • In reply to Redwhitenblack:

    I like Jones a lot, and you maybe be right. But he'd have to not only completely reinvent his game to play off the ball, but work like crazy on his outside shot. He can his any shot on the floor, but he most definitely does not do it consistently.

  • In reply to msalivar:

    Dominique Jones reminds me more of a large Derrick Fisher than a Ray Allen type. But I've love him as a longterm Hinrich replacement. Tough as nails, and great faith in himself, from all the interviews I've seen. Showed up for USF too when it counted

  • In reply to BenjaminBalskus:

    I would love that pick if we're sure we can pickup a shooter in free agency. And it wouldn't surprise me at all, he's the kind of guy Paxson seems to love.

    I have a very short list of guys I like, and he's near the top. Maybe the most realistic, too, unless reports of Udoh falling out of the lottery are true. Or if we manage to trade up for George.

  • In reply to Redwhitenblack:

    and he plays defense like a pit bull, and he gets to the line like nobody on the Bulls does. However, that does not seem like he plays Allens game.

    Jones is my pick at 17 if we don't go big, which I prefer(Alabi, Seraphin)

  • In reply to BigWay:

    How do you feel about Udoh if he falls?

  • In reply to mdot1986:

    Ya...Nick Young actually isnt a bad option for us. Athletic, has range, big...i like him.

  • In reply to Csharp:

    Nick Young would be a guy I would take a chance on if I already had a Ray Allen to show him the way; he'd make a great backup, and possible successor, if he figured out how to play the right way. But I have doubts he'd figure it out all by himself.

    There are a lot of knuckleheads on that Wizards squad: it's hard to know if he's hopeless or just going along with the flow.

  • I still have nightmares of watching BG chase Allen in circles in last years playoffs. To add to the matter he has such a quick release once gets past a screen the shots up in an instant.

    One thing I have always loved about Allen is that he never stops moving. The other night against LA he ran them in circles. I couldnt stand it the last 2 years watching 4 of the Bulls without the ball just stand around and stare at someone dribbling until he passes them the ball.

    Everyone on the Bulls should be paying attention to Allen's off ball movement. It wreaks havoc on defenses.

  • Also, If Im ever critical of Rose, its basically because of this reason. Too often he'd drop the ball off at the top of the key then go stand in the corner.

    For someone with as much speed and athleticism as he has, he needs to be moving constantly. His jumper is getting better by the day, and we all know he can finish at the rim with the best of him. Best way to make angles for himself is to stay in perpetual motion like allen does.

    Make the defenses worry 24/7 what the heck he's up to even if he's not getting the ball. For our biggest offensive threat to pass the ball off then go stand in the corner like a brick is infuriating : )

  • In reply to Vohaul79:

    I understand your point, but I think that's being really hard on Rose. I think he has pretty strong off the ball instincts for someone who has been charged with handling the ball for his entire basketball career. And a lot of that corner stuff has to do with the offense they were running, not player choice. Just going into motion without intent is probably worse than standing in the corner.

    But yeah, if the Bulls got Lebron you would definitely want to see Rose do more off the ball, and I think he would. He as pretty good overall basketball aptitude and a feel for cutting off of the ball, and he could learn a lot by study tape of Ray. Every player can.

  • That's what I get for praising the guy... but I'd still take him over Reddick for the next 3 seasons.

  • In reply to BenjaminBalskus:

    Doesn't Reddick bear a certain resemblance to a couple of guys(Paxson, Kerr) who made some big shots in each of our 3 peats.

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