After defeating the Oklahoma City Thunder in convincing fashion to win the franchises 2nd NBA Championship this past June, the Miami Heat have now bolstered their roster even more by acquiring 2 former all-stars in Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis.
Oh how the rich get richer.
The last time Allen and Lewis played on the same team was back in 2004-05 when they led the Seattle Supersonics (now Oklahoma City Thunder) to a 52 win season and a 2nd round appearance in the NBA playoffs. Both players were considered to be the cornerstones of the Supersonics franchise at the time.
7 years have passed and Ray and Rashard will now reunite on the Miami Heat in hopes of accomplishing a goal they were unable to fulfill as members of the Sonics….
Win an NBA title.
What do Ray/Rashard offer the Heat at this stage of their careers?
In Lewis and Allen, the Miami Heat get 2 outstanding three-point shooters who can help stretch the floor for the “Big Three”. Of course, Ray Allen is the leagues all-time three-point shooter with 2718 shots made from long-range over the duration of his career.
Allen is a career 40% shooter from behind the arc while Lewis isn’t far behind at 38%.
As evident in this years NBA Finals with guys like Mike Miller and Shane Battier, when Lebron James and/or Dwayne Wade drive to the basket and draw in the defender(s), it’s going to leave guys open on the wings for easy non-contested shots. Who better to take those open looks than arguably the greatest shooter of all-time in Ray Allen?
These signings also give Miami some much needed depth off the bench. With the possible retirements of Miller and Juwan Howard looming, the Heat needed to add some offensive firepower to its second unit.
Heading into next season (as of now), the main group off the bench will consist of Allen, Lewis, Norris Cole, James Jones and Joel Anthony. Having a backup unit like that to help spell the teams three big stars will be huge when the playoffs begin in late April of next year.
How much does Rashard Lewis have left in the tank?
Lewis isn’t the same player who was given a six-year, $118 million dollar deal by the Orlando Magic back in 2007. Knee injuries have slowed him down over the past few years to the point where he is just a shell of the all-star forward he once was.
That doesn’t mean he can’t contribute on this Heat team.
Now working under a two-year deal worth just under $3 million dollars, Lewis is an absolute bargain for this franchise.
Despite averaging a career-low 7.8 points a game with the Washington Wizards last season (not factoring in his rookie year where he only averaged 2.8 a game), Rashard Lewis can still be a prolific NBA scorer if he can remain healthy. He gives the Heat a lot of versatility with his 6’10 frame as he can play at the 3 or the 4 spot if need be.
Considering the fact that Lewis probably won’t be called upon to play more than 15-17 minutes a game, it just makes this signing look all the better. At just 32 years of age, Rashard Lewis is still a factor in this league if put in the right scenario.
Playing for the defending world champions in South Beach is as good a scenario as any if you ask me.
Do Allen/Lewis make the Heat the heavy favorites going into next season?
Even if Miami didn’t end up with either of these 2 sharpshooters, they’d still probably be the consensus pick around the league to win the NBA Championship next season.
Last time I checked, Lebron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh are still members of this team. That alone could be reason enough for a majority of fans to pick the Heat.
All these signings do is bolster a team that was great without them, and will now be greater with them on board.
Obviously nothing is a given in the National Basketball Association. The Oklahoma City Thunder will be back and more motivated than ever, the Chicago Bulls will be a threat once Derrick Rose returns from injury, the signing of Steve Nash vaults the Los Angeles Lakers back into the discussion and even teams that many rode off last season due to age in the Boston Celtics and San Antonio Spurs will be in the hunt as well.
There are no guarantees Miami will win its 2nd-straight NBA Championship next year, but looking at the moves they just made to improve what was already one of the best rosters in the sport, it’s going to be hard to bet against him.
Lebron James, Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh, Ray Allen, Shane Battier, Mario Chalmers and Rashard Lewis.
How sweet it is.
Christopher Walder is a sports blogger and lead editor for Sir Charles in Charge. You may follow him on Twitter @WalderSports