THERE is no denying that Reggie Miller and Ray Allen are two of the greatest shooters to ever play basketball. The lethal three-point bombers carved out a reputation for breaking the hearts of millions of opponents fans with their silky jumpers and clutch heroics. So, when comparing the pair who reigns supreme?
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IT would be unfair to count Miller out of the discussion due to his lack of rings. The furthest he made it was by dragging the 2000 Indiana Pacers to the NBA Finals, where they lost to the Lakers in six games. Ray Allen was able to win two rings during his career with a much better supporting cast than Miller. As a Boston Celtic in 2008 Allen formed a formidable trio with Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to win the title, and in 2012 as a key role player and scorer with the Miami Heat, Allen again claimed the ultimate prize. As a whole, they both had plenty of playoff success considering for the majority of their careers they had very little help from their teammates. Reggie did go to the playoffs 15 out his 18 years in the league though, while Allen only made the postseason 11 out of 19, but Allen’s two titles and deeper playoff runs make it hard not to give him the edge.
TO be honest it is virtually impossible to split the two when it comes to offensive output. Ray Allen’s career average of 18.9 PPG and shooting percentages of 45.2% on all field goals, 40% from three, 89.4% from the line almost mirror Reggie Miller’s 18.2 PPG, 47.1% on all field goals, 39.5% from three, 88.8% from the line. Although Ray Allen’s peak was higher than Reggie’s it’s worth noting they played in different eras, and the hand-check rules weren’t the same for both. After his first dozen years in the league, Allen wasn’t the focal point of his teams’ offense, largely due to the fact that he was surrounded by better players. Still, this meant that he didn’t have the best defenders necessarily matched up with him on the perimeter. For 18 years though Reggie was the man for Indiana and he was chased around the floor by elite defenders from the 90’s and STILL managed to get it done.
Edge: Miller. Just
MUCH like the offensive debate Ray and Reggie were virtually carbon copies of one another on defense. Neither has a reputation as a defender or as a shutdown player and statistically, most of the major areas are very similar. Overall Miller has the slight edge though, and throughout his career, there is plenty of evidence of players losing their sh*t and committing an offensive foul against the Pacers trash talker. Neither excelled, but Miller had a reputation of hassling players the length of the floor and frustrating them into making bonehead moves with the ball in their hands. Unorthodox, but it makes him a slightly better defender than Ray.
Edge: Miller. Just
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Both of these iconic basketball moments required both players to hit clutch shots in order for their teams to win. But what’s most impressive is the fact that they had the concentration, the awareness and most of the balls to retreat behind the three-point line to make their shots. Let’s get one thing straight, Reggie Miller’s eight points in nine seconds against New York in 1995 is one of the greatest moments in NBA history. Unfortunately for Miller, Ray Allen’s championship saving three against San Antonio in 2013 ranks higher. That shot literally changed the course of NBA history.
Edge: Allen. Just
AGAIN partially attributed to the lack of supporting cast and team success, neither Reggie or Ray was named a 1st teamer All-NBA in their careers. Miller made a handful of 3rd teams and Allen made a 2nd and 3rd team once in his career, but the All-Star appearances stand out as a difference. It was tough for Miller, a five-time All-Star, to crack into the East lineup while the likes of Jordan, Wilkins, Pippen and Grant Hill were around. For Allen however, the early 00’s featured a weaker crop of wing players in the Eastern Conference (with the exception of Carter and T-Mac), playing a part in his 10 All-Star selections. Still to double Miller’s All-Star tally speaks volumes about how tough the 90’s were and just how good Ray Allen was in his prime.
DESPITE all the similarities between the two, they had two very different personalities. Miller was one of the best trash talkers in NBA history and was often outspoken and brash. Allen, on the other hand, was more reserved and quiet, letting his game do the talking. Their impact and influence on the game is tough to measure, however, Miller’s clutch heroics and famous battles with the Knicks in the playoffs outshine any of the ‘theatre’ Ray Allen produced. With the exception of his famous shot to save Miami against the Spurs, and being the all-time leader in made three’s, Allen doesn’t have any ‘stand out’ moments or contributing memories to the NBA. There are countless highlights from Reggie that impacted the game of basketball, and he is part of the reason the NBA implemented the hand check rule. Take nothing away from the humble hero that was Ray Allen, but Miller was able to capture audiences and keep the Pacers relevant in one of the NBA’s golden era’s.
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VERDICT – REGGIE MILLER
THIS is by far the toughest comparison I have had to do to, and for once the guy with the championships doesn’t come out on top. I won’t talk any more about their similarities or their lack of support for the majority of their careers, at the end of the day it comes down to one thing. Reggie Miller is widely regarded as one of the most clutch players in NBA history, and while Ray Allen has his fair share of game-changing highlights, Miller stands out more. He kept the Indiana Pacers relevant during the 90’s in an era where he was pitted against some of the greatest teams in history. Allen was one of the best players in the early 00’s, but he didn’t have to square off against Jordan or a hostile MSG to advance in the playoffs. It’s close, VERY close but Reggie Miller comes out on top as the better NBA player at the end of the day.
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