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Ball Don't Lie

Bigger shoes is the biggest reason Ray Allen is setting career marks from long range

Kelly Dwyer
Ball Don't Lie

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Ray Allen thinks he could probably make it from here, and he's probably right (Getty Images)

Boston Celtics sharpshooter Ray Allen has always taken excellent care of his body, watched his conditioning and passed on the sort of late nights and cloudy thrills that can cut an NBA career short. As a result, he's been effective at a young man's perimeter game deep into his 30s, though there has been some fretting over his stamina at times. When the Celtics traded for Allen in 2007, there was some concern about how his already-gimpy ankles would hold up as he entered the latter stages of his career. And by 2010, Allen was shooting a league-average (the horror!) mark from 3-point range.

Enter bigger shoes. Size 15s, to be exact. Allen entered the NBA in 1996 wearing a size 13 sneaker. As time went on, he went up to  14. Just two years ago, he made another jump that has helped his performance and his health.

From an interview with CSNNE's Jessica Camerato (via Bleacher Report), it appears as if a switch upward to size 15 shoes allowed Allen's doggies the room to breathe, and the larger pairs may have contributed to an upshot in 3-point shooting that has seen Allen pour in a white hot 45 percent mark from behind the arc in the two seasons since. From CSNNE.com:

"My feet were always hurting," he told CSNNE.com. "I was at shootaround in Detroit two years ago, I was running through it, and when I got back to the bus, it was just like the shoes, my orthotics — I called over to Nike and said, 'The next shoe allotment, send it to me in 15s.' I've been a 15 ever since."

That shootaround was in March of 2010, and it's probably no coincidence that Allen hit 39 percent from deep during that year's Finals run for Boston, a nice mark against improved defensive competition, nailing a postseason-best 54 triples along the way.

To fill in that extra space, Allen just slipped a pair of orthotics into his shoes. Because that's what we do when we get older. From his talk from Camerato:

"It just doesn't restrict my feet as much," he said. "My feet can breathe."

Allen's all-around game isn't the stuff of legend at this point in his career, and he'll never be compared with contemporary Kobe Bryant as they work through their mid-30s. But Allen's improved mark from long range comes while working for a Boston team that often finds spacing, good screening (especially since Kendrick Perkins was shipped to Oklahoma City a year ago) and overall offensive execution in short supply. Teams are loading up on this guy as he curls off those screens, and yet his 2011-12 mark of 46.5 percent from behind the arc is the best of a career that has seen him hit more 3-pointers than anyone else in NBA history.

And the obvious question is, if Allen moves up to size 16 next season, and 17 the year after that, will he be shooting over 50 percent from behind the arc in 2016?

I didn't say it was a "serious" or even a "smart" question, I said it was an "obvious" question.

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