Last Thursday, Boston Celtics guard Ray Allen shot himself into the NBA record books by drilling the 2562nd three-pointer of his career in a loss against the L.A. Lakers, knocking Reggie Miller to second place in nearly four fewer seasons' worth of games.
It's a remarkable achievement for the 15-year veteran, but it immediately got me wondering about how long it'll stand, or if anyone will challenge it. As this blog focuses on the Orlando Magic, I immediately set out to find if any Magic players have a prayer of dethroning Allen.
It's a silly question, probably, but one I wanted to explore anyway. Orlando's roster boasts some great three-point shooters, veterans (like Jason Richardson) and youngsters (think J.J. Redick) alike. So I decided to compare their numbers to Allen's to see where they stand in relation to the new three-point champ. The results don't look great for the men in Magic pinstripes.
First, the basics on Allen's tremendous career: he's averaged 2.4 threes per game in 1076 games, missed an average of just 6.7 games per season, and logged 37.1 minutes per game. In other words, he's a volume shooter with great durability, which already stacks the deck against any would-be three-point challengers. Plus, at age 35, he probably has another two or three seasons left to add to his record, putting it further out of reach.
But, as this is just a simple exercise, we won't project how many triples he'll end his career with. Let's assume that, for whatever reason, Allen announces his retirement, effective immediately, later this afternoon. He'd finish with 2564 threes. What would it take for any current Magic player to match that figure? I ran the career per-game and per-minute numbers for Richardson, Redick, Ryan Anderson, Gilbert Arenas, Jameer Nelson, and Hedo Turkoglu to find out how their pace stacks up to Allen's.
These projections look okay for Richardson and Arenas, but they can't account for potential injuries or decreases in playing time; they assume each player will continue to play 82 games per season at their current minutes-per-game pace, which is pretty unreasonable for any player, but especially for Arenas. The point guard has shifted into a reserve role with Orlando, averaging just 21.5 minutes per game, well below his career average of 36.3 minutes.
Similarly, it doesn't account for potential increases in roles for Redick and Anderson, who have per-minute three-point numbers to rival Allen's, but not the playing time. But even if they averaged 24 minutes per game for the rest of their careers, effective immediately, Anderson would need to play until age 39 to catch Allen. Redick, comically, would have to play until 45. He entered the league at 22, which means, according to these methods, he would need to have spent more than half his life playing NBA hoops just to match Allen's record, and that doesn't account for the distance Allen will put between himself and Redick in the years ahead. Holy smokes.
The limits of this survey ultimately paint a hazy picture, but even accounting for its shortcomings, it's highly unlikely any player currently in Orlando's employ will challenge Allen's record. It puts Allen's accomplishments in proper perspective, considering the three-point prowess of the players in the Magic's employ.