After finishing 2-2 from beyond the arc in a 94-89 loss against Charlotte, Celtics guard Ray Allen reached 2,559 career three pointers, just two shy of breaking Reggie Miller’s all time record for three point field goals made. The record, which Miller has held since overtaking his long range rival Dale Ellis on April 13, 1998, will be set to pass to Allen as soon as Thursday February 10 against the Lakers.
While some Pacers fans are sure to be disappointed at someone other than Miller holding a record that is synonymous with him, it’s best to understand records are always made to be broken, and if anyone should break the record, a player that personifies so much of Miller’s style of play should be the one to do it. Allen was second all-time following Miller’s retirement in 2005, and has spend the past six years erasing the over 800 three point gap between the two. When Miller set the record, he set the bar high. Anyone who can reach it deserves to be applauded.
Granted, the three point arc in the NBA features its own history. While the arc was installed in professional basketball with the ABA, the NBA didn’t add it until the 1979-80 season and even then, teams remained slow to pick up on it. In its first year, Milwaukee led the league with 308 attempts; by comparison, Reggie averaged 360 attempts per season, while Allen’s balloons up to around 460. The shot continued to remain under-utilized by the league as a whole until the late 1980’s. Since then, the arc has become a staple of basketball at all levels, popularized by a brief reduction in distance in the 90’s growing into an expected shot for any wing and guard player.
Look no further than players like Dwyane Wade, who struggle consistently from beyond the arc, but expectations of the position force them into an average of three attempts a game. By comparison, Miller himself only had one season where he averaged above six attempts a game, while a player like Allen shot over eight a game for eight straight years. The growth in the usage of the three point arc helped accelerate Ray Allen’s ascension to the record books, but he’ll still gain the lead in roughly 60 less shot attempts.
Regardless of when the record falls, or where Allen will set the bar when he retires, there’s no reason for Pacers fans to be upset at the change of the guard. His legacy is not tarnished, and even after the record falls, Miller will still hold the NBA Playoff record. When it’s all said and done, whether that goes to Allen as well or not, Reggie Miller remains the face of the three point shot. Three fanbases may be celebrating Allen’s record in three point field goals, but none of them have the distinction Pacers fans have: claim to every last one of them.