Ray Allen was drafted fifth overall by the Minnesota Timberwolves in the 1996 NBA Draft. His time with the Wolves was limited to mere minutes as he was dealt to the Milwaukee Bucks on draft night. Throughout his time in the NBA, between Milwaukee, Seattle, and Boston, Allen has proven repeatedly that he is one of the greatest sharpshooters in the history of the game.
Allen spent three collegiate seasons at the University of Connecticut where he was a two-time All-America player. In 1996, he contributed to one of the best draft classes in NBA history. Among those selected in the same year as Ray Allen are Allen Iverson, Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Jermaine O’Neal, Peja Stojakovic, and Marcus Camby.
Spending the first six and a half seasons of his career in Milwaukee, Ray Allen established himself as an efficient scorer and a remarkably durable player. He did not miss a game due to injury in any of his first five seasons. In his rookie season, he shot 82.3 percent from the free throw line; never again in his career has he ever shot below 87 percent from the charity stripe. With a career percentage of 89.3 percent, Allen has the fifth highest free throw percentage in the history of the NBA.
What he made his name on, however, is his three point shooting. Allen is the NBA’s active leader in three point baskets with 2,444. That puts him second behind only Reggie Miller among the all-time leaders in three point makes. At his current pace, if he remains healthy Ray Allen will catch and surpass Miller in the 2010-11 season. Allen is a career 40 percent three point shooter, currently ranking 37th in NBA history.
In a Bucks uniform, Allen tallied averages of 19.6 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 3.8 assists per game. Ray Allen has played his best basketball and done most of his damage from three point range since being traded from the Bucks. At the trade deadline of the 2002-03 season, Allen was sent to the Seattle Supersonics in a blockbuster deal for defensive legend Gary Payton.
Allen spent four and a half seasons with the Sonics, making every All-Star team. He averaged 24.6 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 4.2 assists per game, ranking among the top ten in scoring three times. Allen set his personal best with 269 threes in the 2006 season, an average of 3.4 makes per game at a 41.2 percent clip.
Allen’s best success has come in his most recent seasons. After the 2007 season, Allen was traded on draft night to the Boston Celtics. In the previous season, Boston finished with a 24-58 record, sitting at last place in their division and looking at an uncertain future. After acquiring Allen and adding future Hall of Famer Kevin Garnett in a separate trade, the Celtics won the 2008 NBA Championship. Ray had a brilliant NBA Finals series and knocked down a total of 55 threes in the playoffs – not even his personal best (Allen drained 57 threes in the 2001 playoffs, one behind the all-time record).
In his 14-year career, Ray Allen has become synonymous with great shooting. On the NBA’s all-time scoring list, he is in the top 30 and rising. His free throw shooting is automatic and stands elite even by today’s much higher standards than those from the past. And as his greatest accomplishment, before his career is over, Allen will be the NBA’s all-time leader in three point baskets.