August 10, 2009
If this isn't proof enough that NBA GMs absolutely hate going with prospects and players that they've never heard of, and that a large Q rating looms much, much larger than rebound rate or age or overall production, then I don't know what to tell you.
Sure, Wallace will be fine. And I should start by quoting the line you'll read from now until November. Ready for it?
"He won't be asked to score much."
Hopefully he won't be asked to defend much, either, because Wallace is a liability both as a help defender and as a post defender. Seriously. He's fallen off that much, because he's slowed that much. Worse, because he fancies himself the sort of guy that can still overplay on the perimeter and get back to contest a shot and/or rebound, he hurts the team. He's the rare selfish defensive player.
I'm not going to completely blame Wallace, because it's hard to break old habits. Especially when those old habits are the result of acting as one of the premier defensive players of the last 30 years.
Sure, ego has a part of it; but so does instinct. And because he was so dominant, those split-second decisions tell him he can try and show on Steve Nash(notes) 25 feet from the hoop, even as Amar'e Stoudemire(notes) is rolling in behind him for a sure two points.
Here's who I completely blame: Joe Dumars.
He can do better. He can work the NBDL. He can find someone who can adequately rebound (Wallace's rebound rate, though it has slipped and will continue to slip, was still better than Chris Bosh(notes) or Anderson Varejao's(notes) last season), who isn't a liability on defense and an absolute zero on offense.
And Wallace is more than an absolute zero - you don't have to guard him, and he misses close lay-up after lay-up, fearful that he'll be fouled if he were to go up for a dunk. Other offensively-challenged big men at least contribute with the odd dunk, the high percentage throwdown, but for years Wallace has argued-away those chances as he goes for a poorly executed reverse lay-in or double-clutcher as the would-be foulers clamp down.
Again, I can't blame Wallace. He is who he is, he was a role player nonpareil, and he'll be 35 when the season starts.
But even as a backup. A backup to a backup. A guy sitting behind a litany of bigs. Someone who will only play 12-20 minutes a game ... Dumars can do better.
There isn't much responsibility to Wallace's role, but Dumars is hurting his team if he's playing Wallace more than six minutes a game. And no amount of locker room leadership (something Wallace wasn't exactly known for in Detroit and Chicago) can make up for the onus he puts on his own teammates on both ends.
Going for a name player. It never, ever, works.