The Boston Celtics are an organization that values players who win championships and live by their loyalty. Even as Ray Allen provided the Celtics with a title and numerous other opportunities to strike gold, his breach of allegiance was unforgivable when he signed with the Miami Heat this past offseason (via CBS Sports).
Fortunately for the Celtics, head coach Doc Rivers has found a way to replace Allen with Paul Pierce. Not the player you'd expect, is it?
Considering the Celtics lost the most decorated three-point shooter in NBA history, it's difficult to truly fill his void. Through all of the biased hatred, there is no way around how dominant a shooter Allen was and still remains.
Such was a primary basis for offensive production in Boston for five seasons.
Unfortunately, all good things come to an end. After a calendar year of trade rumors, Allen finally decided to walk away and sign with Boston's arch nemesis.
Such a backstabbing has motivated Pierce to step up and cause Boston to forget all about their former sharpshooter. Well, to a point.
Pierce is presently shooting 43.1 percent from beyond the arc and 87.2 percent from the charity stripe. Although he is not to be mistaken for Allen physically, Pierce's numbers are rather Allen-esque, are they not?
Shooting the lights out is just the beginning of the ways Pierce has stepped in to fill Allen's absence; he has also made significant adjustments in his style of play.
From providing point guard Rajon Rondo with a curling scorer to stepping up as the go-to sharpshooter, Pierce has done it all. Even as his perimeter teammates knock down shot after shot, one thing has become perfectly clear.
The 35-year-old Pierce has been tasked with replacing the 37-year-old Allen. He has responded magnificently.
Working Off of Screens
It is no secret that Allen is one of greatest motion basketball players in NBA history. The way Allen works off of screens is legendary, while his conditioning enables him to wear down players that are 15 years younger than he.
For evidence, watch the 37-year-old continue to work his magic in Miami. He's shooting 52.9 percent from beyond the arc in 2012-13.
Although replacing Allen's long-range shooting ability is virtually impossible, the Celtics have done an adequate enough job to maintain efficiency. Surprisingly, it isn't Jason Terry who is filling said void as a three-point specialist.
Although Terry is shooting 41.2 percent from beyond the arc, it is Pierce who has taken more of Allen's former role.
Thus far this season, 22.1 percent of Pierce's shot attempts have come off of designed screen plays. That's up from 14.0 in 2011-12, which displays how Pierce has stepped up to fill Allen's void as a motion scorer.
As a result of this change in approach, Pierce is shooting 43.1 percent from beyond the arc. Up from 36.6 percent a year ago.
Transition Spot Up
One of the most underrated aspects of Ray Allen's game is his ability to run in transition and spot up on a cue. This enables elite transition scorers and facilitators to capitalize on Allen's presence as they either kick it out or keep a defender off balance until attacking the basket.
In turn, their attempts become far less contested.
With Allen gone from the team, point guard Rajon Rondo appeared to lack a transition shooter. Fortunately, Paul Pierce has stepped up to fill that void in a major way as 18.2 percent of his shot attempts have come in transition.
That's up from 14.3 percent in 2011-12.
Although Pierce is shooting a rather underwhelming 42.8 percent from the floor, he still has stepped up to fill Allen's void. With his selfless play and willingness to work without the basketball, the Celtics have transitioned nicely from where they were a year ago.
Due to Pierce's contributions, they're presently flowing on offense better than ever before.
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