When Ray Allen made his NBA debut for the Milwaukee Bucks
Today almost marks the 26th anniversary of Ray Allen’s debut in the NBA. On November 1st, 1996, the Milwaukee Bucks took on the Philadelphia 76ers and the top draft pick of that season, Allen Iverson. Ray was drafted fifth overall by the Bucks in 1996, and the sharpshooter had a solid game, finishing with 13 points, albeit on 3-of-10 shooting. He would play for 18 seasons in the NBA, make 10 All-Star appearances, winning two championship rings, and establish himself as one of the greatest three-point shooters of all time.
Expectations were high for Allen when he entered the league. He was coming off a successful college career at the University of Connecticut, where he was named a first-team All-American in 1995-96. Many believed that his shooting ability was his calling card and that he could be one of the top shooters in the NBA. He also displayed incredible athleticism and put up some amazing aerial displays early in his professional life.
Although he struggled with accuracy his first game, he was able to get to the rim and draw fouls. He was 5-of-7 from the line. He also stole the ball three more times. Allen would not take long to get used to the pro game, as he notched 18 and 20 points, respectively, in his next two games. Moreover, he was ultra-efficient in those games, making 14 of his 22 attempts from the field.
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Seven seasons of excellence
Allen would spend seven seasons with the Bucks before getting traded to the Seattle SuperSonics in 2003. He would be named to the All-Star team three more times and become one of the greatest players in franchise history. In his time with the Bucks, he averaged 19.6 points, 4.6 rebounds, 3.8 assists, and 1.3 steals per game while shooting 40.6 from beyond the arc.
Allen, along with Sam Cassell and Glenn Robinson, would lead the Bucks to the 2001 Eastern Conference Finals but fall short in seven games to Iverson and the Sixers. Allen was sensational in Game Six of that series, scoring 41 points and going 9-of-13 from three-point country to force the pivotal Game Seven.
The author of 5 books, 3 of which are New York Times bestsellers. I’ve been published in more than 100 newspapers and magazines and am a frequent commentator on NPR.