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Ray Allen vs. J.R. Smith: Who would be More valuable to Knicks?


by Joe F.

The Knicks have a few options to get depth at the shooting guard position next year. With Iman Shumpert likely out until January, Landry Fields possibly leaving, and J.R. Smith having a $2.5 million player option, the Knicks are in a heap of trouble at the 2-guard spot.

The salary cap situation became less confusing and complex one at the moment due to Jeremy Lin, and Steve Novak getting their Bird rights.

Back in May HoopsHype attempted to sort out the Knicks salary cap situation. They came to the conclusion the Knicks should have around $6.58 million to sign roughly six players if Lin and Fields’ offer sheets are matched. As of now these theoretical numbers are all we can base hypothetical contract offers on.

With J.R. Smith having to exercise his player option by June 26, and Ray Allen showing interest, the Knicks now have a plethora of options, but have very little money to work with.

If Smith exercises his option the Knicks will have to give him $2.5 million. If he opts out then they really can’t go much higher than what the option will give him. Remember, in this particular situation the Knicks have $6.58 million to sign six players. Smith might feel he can command more in free agency. If he can’t he seems to like New York enough to come back for that amount of money.

Ray Allen isn’t going to get a big contract. He’s going to get something similar to J.R. Smith.

Allen who was paid $10 million last season from the Celtics will have to take a large pay cut in order to come to the Knicks, or any other title contending team he is linked to. I’d sign Allen for roughly $2.5-$3.0 million, and that’s really all the Knicks could offer. If he  signs for that, the Knicks will have to fill their roster with Josh Harrellson’s, and Jerome Jordan’s, which isn’t that appealing, but if the Knicks had to sign either J.R. Smith or Ray Allen with their limited cap space who should they sign?

Well I figured that out for us. Money wise, they’re about equal. But how well do their style’s of play fit in with the Knicks?

Here is the entire picture of their 2012 season. A statistical comparison between the two players, courtesy of Basketball-Reference.

Smith : 12.5 Ppg, 2.4 Apg, 3.9 Rpg, .407 FG%, .508 TS%, 2.5 WS

Allen : 14.2 Ppg, 2.4 Apg, 3.1 Rpg, .458 FG%, .607 TS%, 4.7 WS

It’s good to be informed that Allen was playing in his sixteenth season this season, while Smith was in his eighth. But even at an older age, Allen was worth more to the Celtics than Smith was to the Knicks. Allen’s superior TS% shows that he’s more efficient than Smith. While it’s true that a starter should have better numbers than a bench player, Smith’s USG% was higher than Allen’s. Meaning that Smith was being utilized more in the Knicks offense, than Allen was in the Celtics.

This shows the different style of play each of these players have. Smith relies on having the ball in his possession, while Allen can work without the ball. Allen made a living off creating his own shot, and knocking down clutch three pointers. I believe his game would fit with the Knicks more than Smith due to this fact. The Knicks have so many guys who need the ball in their hands. Like Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire for instance. Having Allen would allow the Knicks stars to get to work, and have less of an isolation offense.

Just think of the three pointers too! It gets me excited to think that Steve Novak and Ray Allen could be on the same team. Smith shoots the three ball well, but not as well as Allen has throughout his career (Allen .453%, Smith .347%).  This would open up the Knicks offense even more. If the Knicks spaced out Allen, and Novak on the court they would have a lot more space to work the ball in the paint.

If the Knicks had to sign one of these guys I hope it’s Ray Allen.