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Better Player: Ray Allen or Reggie Miller? Reviewed by Momizat on . One day, both Reggie Miller -- already inducted-- and Ray Allen’s name will reside in Springfield as both players will have a spot in the Hall of Fame with the One day, both Reggie Miller -- already inducted-- and Ray Allen’s name will reside in Springfield as both players will have a spot in the Hall of Fame with the Rating:
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Better Player: Ray Allen or Reggie Miller?

One day, both Reggie Miller — already inducted– and Ray Allen’s name will reside in Springfield as both players will have a spot in the Hall of Fame with the reputation of being two of the greatest shooters in league history.

Reggie Miller spent his entire career in Indiana and made countless clutch jumpers all the while making sure to rub it into the face of his opponents as well as their fans; antagonizing them with his gestures, choke signs and celebrations.

Ray Allen on the other hand has been the quiet and yet deadly assassin for years; dropping clutch long-range bombs for the Milwaukee Bucks, Seattle Supersonics and the Boston Celtics.

But which one is the better player?

I was posed this question last week by a friend and he seemed shocked by my response. Consequently, he took the debate over to a Facebook sports group and looked to fellow members to settle the debate. Instead, the conversation only became more interesting as commenters made excellent points for both players.

In 18 NBA seasons, the former Indiana Pacers star was selected to participate in five All-Star games and made the All-NBA third team on three separate occasions.

Jesus Shuttlesworth on the other hand has been selected 10 times as an All-Star and has made the All-NBA second team once as well as the All-NBA third team once.

If we break down their careers statistically, it’s awfully close; have a look below at their regular season numbers:

Player

PPG

APG

FG%

3PT FG%

FT%

3PT FGM

3PT FGA

Ray Allen

20.0

3.6

.452

.400

.894

2718

6788

Reggie Miller

18.2

3.0

.471

.395

.888

2560

6486

 

Miller loyalists will tell you that although his regular season numbers are more than decent, his playoff performances should undoubtedly put him above the former Connecticut player and it’s a point well worth examining. Have a look at their postseason production:

Player

PPG

APG

FG%

3PT FG%

FT%

3PT FGM

3PT FGA

Ray Allen

18.2

3.0

.447

.402

.882

313

778

Reggie Miller

20.6

2.5

.449

.390

.888

320

820

 

Both sharpshooters are much closer than many would have initially assumed.

And this is where the debate becomes fascinating when stating the case for each player. Miller benefitted from the fact that he had a rivalry against a team that plays in arguably the biggest market in the league in the New York Knicks. Indeed, every event involving the Knicks gets that much more attention, more spotlight and more importance.

Think of Willis Reed marching through the tunnel, Allan Houston’s evisceration of the Pacers, John Starks dunking on Horace Grant — with Michael Jordan making a quick cameo in the image — or Larry Johnson’s 4-point play; great playoff moments in New York tend to become legendary.

And in the case of Reggie Miller, that’s exactly what happened. His repeated big games against the Knicks turned him almost into a mythical figure of sorts; where the legend outweighed the actual set of events.

The orange and blue colors had a way of bringing out the best out of the former Bruin; as he routinely tortured them with his hot shooting as well as his confrontations with Spike Lee. In 35 career playoffs games against New York, the UCLA product averaged a cool 23.1 points per game and 2.3 assists per game on 43.9 percent field goal shooting, 41.2 percent 3-point shooting and 89.5 percent free throw shooting.

Couple his performances against the Knicks with his game-winning shot in Game 4 of the 1998 Eastern Conference Finals against the Chicago Bulls, and well it’s easy to see why many remember Miller as an almost infallible player in big games.

Ray Allen on the other hand does not have a truly big nemesis that he consistently faced year in and year out in the postseason to elevate his legacy in the way that the Knicks did for Miller. Allen has always had a semblance of a rivalry with Kobe Bryant, stemming from his days in Seattle, but they never played head-to-head in the playoffs while Allen was with the Supersonics. Instead, we have had to rely on those few instances when the Celtics and Lakers played each other in the NBA Finals in 2008 and 2010 to watch them duke it out.

Nonetheless, rarely has Ray Allen disappointed.

Whether it’s the seven-game series against the Chicago Bulls in 2009 when Allen went nuts and made big shot after big shot down the stretch of games or the forgotten five-game destruction of the Sacramento Kings in 2005 (Ray Ray put up 32.4 points per game, 5.2 assists per game and 2.0 steals per game on 51.4 percent field goal shooting, 45.2 percent 3-point field goal shooting and converted 33-of-34 free throw attempts) or arguably the most efficient and yet quiet Finals performance ever; when Ray Allen averaged 20.3 points per game and 2.5 assists per game on 50.7 percent field goal percentage, 52.4 percent 3-point field goal percentage and 86.7 percent free throw percentage in the 2008 NBA Finals.

For whatever reason, Allen’s performances have been forgotten.

With that said, the failure of most to collectively recall his performances should not be an indictment on his talent and skill. The NBA’s all-time leading 3-point field goals leader has played multiple roles in his great career and has managed to excel at all of them. Whether it was playing second or third fiddle for the Bucks, Allen found his way. In Seattle he was asked to become the team’s primary scoring option and obliged. And most recently, the Celtics asked him to run through screens and drill long-range shots, occasionally initiate the offense (during the 2007-08 season when the team lacked a legit back-up guard before Sam Cassell joined the team), defend his man and finish at the rim.

If the conversation were to shift on which player was the better shooter, an argument could be made for either player, although Miller outpaces Allen in terms of career true shooting percentage. But if we are asking which player is better — which is totally subjective — the answer in my humble estimation is the new Miami Heat player.

His game offers much more variety whereas Miller was a little more one-dimensional. Indeed, the Hall of Fame shooting guard was a good finisher earlier in his career but with the decrease of his athleticism, his attacks to the rim diminished and so did his efficiency in this respect. Allen on the other hand has continued to thrive because of his above average ball handling, lights out shooting and the ability to consistently finish in traffic.

One day, both players will be in the Hall of Fame, but in my books, Allen will enter as the better player.

Questions or comments? Feel free to leave them in the comments section or you can contact me by email at JM.Poulard@Warriorsworld.net.

About The Author

JM.Poulard

J.M. Poulard is the Warriors World editor. He is also a contributor to ESPN TrueHoop sites Forum Blue and Gold (Los Angeles Lakers), Piston Powered (Detroit Pistons) and Raptors Republic (Toronto Raptors). He has a particular fondness for watching Eastern Conference ball games and enjoys the history of the sport. Feel free to reach out to him on Twitter (@ShyneIV).

Number of Entries : 538
  • bluedragon

    its Reggie and its not even close. the stats are meaningless. Reggie carried HIS teams in the playoffs in the biggest moments. Ray never did; he has always been a complementary player/ specialist.

  • http://jtshoopsblog.blogspot.com JT’s Hoops Blog

    I would say Miller was the better player. He literally carried the Pacers for his entire career whareas Allen had to go to the Celtics because he could not handle the load by himself.

  • wil

    Come on Myers surprise us with the splash already!!!
    Your next move (backup PF acquisition) will determine your legacy and genious

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